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Meredith & Colony Club reach deal on taxes

MEREDITH — Senior Housing of New Hampshire, inc., owners and operators of the Meredith Bay Colony Club has abandoned its quest for a charitable exemption from property taxation by agreeing to make an annual payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) to the town in a settlement that brought lengthy legal proceedings to a close.

Acknowledging that the uncertain outcome of the litigation posed risks to both parties, the town and company settled on the PILOT, which is calculated by applying town and county tax rates to the assessed value of the property. The property is currently assessed at $13,145,500, which at the 2013 town and county tax rates of $4.55 and $1.51 would amount to a payment of $79,661.73. The agreement begins in 2014 and runs for five years, when it can be extended, though the town is entitled not to renew it.

In 2010, the town denied the request of Senior Housing of New Hampshire to exempt the private Meredith Bay Colony Club, a senior housing community of 44 assisted living and 41 independent living units on 10.16 acres at 21 Mile Point Drive, from property taxes. The company appeal the denial to the Belknap County Superior Court, where a bench trial was forestalled by the settlement.
To qualify for a charitable exemption a corporation must be "established and administered for the purpose of performing, and obligated, by its charter or otherwise, to perform some service of public good or welfare advancing the spiritual, physical, intellectual, social or economic well-being of the general public or a substantial and indefinite segment of the general public."

Senior Housing of New Hampshire contended it was entitled to a charitable exemption because it provides subsidies of between $100,000 and $220,000 against the membership fees of five residents of independent living units and that its annual rates and entrance fees are less than market rates and fees. The town questioned whether loans bearing interest rates between 7 percent and 11 percent qualified as subsidies and challenged the company's calculation of market rates and fees. The town also questioned whether the Meredith Bay Bay Colony Club was established and operated for a charitable purpose.

Last Updated on Friday, 15 November 2013 01:00

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Billings urges Inter-Lakes board to put money away for capital improvements

MEREDITH — The Inter-Lakes School Board is being urged to commit itself to recommend putting money every year into a capital reserve fund to help soften the impact large-ticket expenditures can have on the district's budget and taxes paid by district residents.
Board member Mark Billings advised such a course of action during Tuesday evening's School Board meeting.
Billings, of Meredith, noted that the district is facing three capital improvement projects which are especially costly. One is a four-year phased replacement of the roof of Inter-Lakes Elementary School, which has a price tag estimated at $600,000. The second is repaving of a road used by school buses at the elementary school, as well as repairs and resealing of high school parking lot, at an expected cost of $145,000. The third is a proposal to spend $120,000 to replace the seats in the Inter-Lakes Community Auditorium at the high school.
Billings said that the district is putting more effort into planning further ahead for capital projects. He said district administrators are currently working on a 10-year capital improvement plan.
He said that putting $75,000 a year into a capital reserve account would help to prevent budget spikes that could otherwise occur due to big-ticket capital projects. Placing money in a capital reserve account requires approval of voters at the annual School District Meeting.
"Our first commitment is to our people," Billings noted. "But we have $20 million worth of facilities and the more we focus on maintaining and preserving our facilities we will save money in the long term."
NOTES: The board gave initial approval to district policies dealing with summer activities, safe-school measures, and advance placement courses. While there were little discussion on any of the policies, board member Carol Baggaley raised concern with a provision of the advance course policy that would allow a student to take an advance placement course regardless of that student's grades in the subject and whether the student satisfied the prerequisites for the course. Superintendent Mary Ellen Ormond said while teachers and school counselors have an important role in advising students what courses they should take, that if a student's parents wanted their child in a certain course then the school should defer to the parents' wishes. But Baggaley felt that was unfair to high-achieving students in advance placement courses. Ormond noted that Tuesday's vote was on a first reading of the policy and that the policy could be amended before being presented to the board for a second reading. The board must approve a policy twice before it is adopted. . . . . . The board voted to accept $3,300 in donations to support the Inter-Lakes Middle Tier and High School Theater Companies. The donations came from Meredith Village Savings Bank, Meredith Dental, Dr. Edward DeTolla, and the Inter-Lakes PTO. The board also voted to accept a $1,167 donations from the New Hampshire Electric Co-op Foundation to help pay for sixth graders at Sandwich Central School to visit four power plants in the state.

Last Updated on Thursday, 14 November 2013 01:48

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3 cars involved in crash at Union Ave. & High Street

LACONIA — Six people including two children were taken to Lakes Region General Hospital last night after a three-car collision at the intersection of High Street and Union Avenue around 6 p.m.

Fire Lt. Jay Ellingson said none of the injuries were life-threatening. One adult refused transport.

Police closed Union Avenue and rerouted traffic around the area.

Police Capt. Matt Canfield said it initially appears that a car coming down High Street tried to make a left onto Union Avenue and collided with a car headed east on Union Ave. The crash sent one of the cars into a minivan that was headed west on Union Avenue.

Taking a left turn from High Street is difficult because there is not much visibility beyond the downward slope on the western portion of Union Avenue. Also, when a car comes up Union Avenue headed east, it's hard to know what lies beyond the crest of the hill.

Ellingson said all three of Laconia's ambulances and one from Gilford were needed to transport the victims. He said Stewart's Ambulance covered Laconia during the transport.

Canfield said the accident is under investigation.


CUTLINE: Two of the three cars involved in a crash that sent six people to the hospital sit on Union Avenue last night. All of the cars were towed. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Gail Ober)

Last Updated on Thursday, 14 November 2013 01:45

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Tamworth man charged with armed robbery of $396 from Lakeport market

LACONIA — A Tamworth man accused of an armed robbery at a Lakeport convenience store has been held on $50,000 cash bail after appearing in the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division yesterday.

Affidavits obtained from court yesterday said Joseph W. Desbien, 41, of Union Hall Road #1 was initially arrested Tuesday at 8:20 p.m. in an apartment on Union Avenue because he was wanted on an open warrant for possession of heroin.

Police said they learned Desbien was at the apartment and during his subsequent interrogation admitted he robbed the store.

Complaints said Desbien entered the P&P Market at 3:57 p.m. on Sunday and threatened the clerk with a knife. He allegedly robbed her of $396.62 from the cash drawer and is charged with one count of armed robbery.

A probable cause hearing is scheduled for both cases for later this month.

Last Updated on Thursday, 14 November 2013 01:41

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