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Selectmen have no interest in building satellite Belmont fire station

BELMONT — The Board of Selectmen took an ax to the Fire Department's capital budget request last night, chopping a fire boat and a feasibility study for a new satellite station, worth a total of $95,000, from consideration.

The fire boat is to replace the old pontoon platform boat for Lake Winnisquam with a new boat capable of fighting fires. The department removed the pontoon boat from service about a year ago.

The $70,000 feasibility study was recommended by Fire Chief David Parenti because, in his opinion, coverage from the town's fire station in the village has response times that are too slow to the Route 3/lake section of town, which generates about 26 percent of the fire department's calls.

"Most communities our size have two stations," Parenti said, identifying a piece of undeveloped town-owned property on the corner of Union Road and Woodland Drive on the southeast side of Lake Winnisquam near Silver Lake as a potential site.

"I won't disagree with you (about the need) but right now I can't support a feasibility study," said Selectman Ruth Mooney. Selectmen Jon Pike and Chair Ron Cormier agreed with her.

When Parenti asked for a capital reserve account in lieu of a feasibility study, Cormier said he couldn't support either.

"I can't see how this board can dispose of one fire station (Winnisquam) and in a second say let's spend $70,000 to look at a station," he said.

Parenti also asked for a $200,000 refurbishment of Engine 3 — the second engine in Belmont's fleet and the one that responds on the "second line."

He said there is some significant rust on the 1997 fire truck but a new truck would cost $500,000. He said if the body was refurbished he would be able to move it forward as the primary response truck for the next five or so years and then get an additional five or so years as a second response engine.

He said he spoke with Greenwood Emergency Vehicles and said they recommended a complete inspection for $2,000 — meaning a technician go over the body and frame to see if it will last 10 years.

"If the frame rails are shot then there's no point," Parenti said.

Parenti also said that RSNE of Gilford would give the motor and drive-train a complete check for $500.

Selectmen told him to get the motor evaluated before he moves ahead with the body inspection.

He also asked selectmen for a new fire command vehicle. Right now the department has two Ford Explorer SUVs — one each for the chief and deputy chief — and the one the deputy drives has "multiple coolant leaks" and may need a head gasket.

Selectmen suggested spending $35,000 on a new Ford Interceptor SUV and make it the chief's vehicle.

Pike said he would like to put the chief in a smaller vehicle and the Ford Interceptor (sedans) are designed for emergency responses. He also said the fuel savings would make a big difference in the long run.

On the operations side of the budget, Parenti requested an additional firefighter. He said he has reduced the rest of the operations budget — especially his overtime line — to compensate for the position. He also suggested that if the additional firefighter is approved, that he or she start in July.

As to the long-term effects on the operations budget, Parenti noted he has two lieutenants who may be retiring in 2014 and some savings would likely be realized in personnel costs when he replaces them with people who are not as senior.

Selectmen chose to move the additional firefighter request on to the Budget Committee for consideration with a recommendation to support it. The position is budgeted at $35,000 plus benefits.

Pike noted selectmen had asked the chief to reduce his overtime and "he has done what we asked."

Last Updated on Tuesday, 22 October 2013 02:07

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Single car accident claims life of 21-year-old Barnstead man

BARNSTEAD — Police confirmed yesterday that 21-year-old Kevin Price was killed in a single-car accident near his home on North Barnstead Road sometime Friday night into Saturday morning.

Police said yesterday that Price was headed west on the dirt portion of the road when it appears he lost control, left the road, and crashed into a tree. The momentum of the crash appeared to have caused the car — a 1992 BMW 325I — to roll onto its roof.

In a written media statement, Chief Kenneth Borgia said Price likely died on impact due to massive trauma to his head and neck. He also said Price was not wearing a seat belt and the car's airbags had been deployed.

Borgia said Price's family and friend told him that they had last had contact with him at 7:30 p.m. Friday night. The car was found by someone who knew Price and contacted police at 7:25 a.m.

Borgia said a preliminary finding by a state medical examiner said the crash could have occurred as many as 12 hours before Price was found. His autopsy was scheduled for yesterday.

Borgia said the accident is still under investigation. The Belknap Regional Accident Reconstruction Team was called and that section of North Barnstead Road was closed from the time police arrived in the morning until about 1:30 p.m.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 22 October 2013 02:23

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Senior Center asks Meredith for 43% reduction in rent

MEREDITH — The Community Action Program of Belknap-Merrimack Counties (CAPBM) has asked the Board of Selectmen to reduce the annual rent the agency pays to operate the Inter-Lakes Senior Center at the Community Center from $14,000 to $8,000.

At a workshop yesterday, Pam Jolivette, director of Elderly Services at CAPBM, told the selectmen that the request was based on comparing the rent at the Community Center, which has housed the senior center for the past eight years, to what it pays for other comparable facilities. She explained that the agency has lost $85,000 in federal funding due to the sequester and another $63,000 in funding from Granite United Way. She explained that to sustain its programs and services at their current levels, the agency has reduced staff hours and eliminated positions while exploring further budget reductions and alternative sources of funding.

The senior center is one of 10 operated by the agency and serves Meredith, New Hampton and Center Harbor. The center provides meals-on-wheels, congregate dining, and transportation services as well as exercise and wellness programs.

Selectman Peter Brothers said that "it's painful to sit here and hear about the reductions," but then reminded Jolivette that "we too are experiencing drops in revenue while operating costs continue to rise." He noted that the operating budget for the Community Center has grown from $348,000 in 2007 to $441,500 in 2013 and "revenues are as flat as they can be. These lines cross each other at the wrong place," he remarked. "Long story short, we're in a very similar situation as you are."

Although Brothers was pleased to hear CAPBM was reducing costs, he said "I'm having a hard time looking at the request." He pointed out that the senior center uses 1,585-square-feet, which includes the office of the director of the senior center, of the 18,000-square foot facility for about half-a-day. In addition, he said that the center uses the kitchen appliances, which he anticipated would need replacing in the near future.

Brothers said that apart from leasing the Community Center the town makes an annual appropriate to CAPBM, which he described as "a pretty significant contribution." He sought assurance that Meredith's contribution is "not out of proportion."

Town Manager Phil Warren reminded the Selectboard that revenues from the Community Center have risen from $149,000 to $175,000 during the past several years. He said that after resetting rates "we're in the market," but cautioned against increases that would "price ourselves out of the market."

"I'm torn," said Selectman Lou Kahn, who said there was no way to calculate a rent based on the amount of space and intensity of use. "I'm inclined to give them a break," he remarked, "but not the break they're asking for."

The board asked Jolivette to provide more information on the services the senior center provided to the residents of Meredith and agreed to consider the request in the course of preparing the 2014 municipal budget.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 22 October 2013 01:57

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2 late touchdowns bring Sachems 20-17 win over visiting Lebanon

LACONIA — The high school football playoffs are still in sight as the Sachems score 13 unanswered points in the fourth quarter last night to beat Lebanon 20-17 at Bank of New Hampshire Stadium. The turning point in the fourth was when Keith Schultz stripped the ball out of running back Cameron Broughton's hand and rambled 70 yards down the sideline for a defensive touchdown.

"I saw that he was being held up and went for the ball," Schultz said. "They are a fast team and when I stumbled around the 30 yard line I didn't think I was going to make it. I have never had a game like this before. It was a great win."

The sophomore has five tackles two fumble recoveries and a blocked punt to complement the touchdown.
"These kids are great," said Laconia coach Craig Kozens. "They deserved this win tonight. Schultz made a heads up play late in the game to keep it close. We looked to pound the ball, which worked early, but Lebanon came out to play. We have to get back to work and prepare for Kennett next week."
Schultz's punt block on Lebanon's opening drive of the game created great field position for the Laconia offense. The Sachems opened up the scoring when Steven Kemos powered his way up the middle for a three yard touchdown. But Laconia's offense would not score again until the final quarter.
Lebanon was kept off the scoreboard in the first quarter. Early in the second quarter the Raiders were looking for a spark. They found it with an end around at midfield that tied the game.

The Raiders then intercepted Sachems QB Matt Swormstedt with 50 seconds remain in the half. They then drove to inside the 25 and kick a 41 yard field goal to pull ahead 10-7 at the half.
Lebanon's first drive of the second half looked to have stalled when it was third down and 15. But the Raiders QB hit wide-out Austin Pelletier at the first down marker. Pelletier slipped past two tackles and sprinted down the sideline for a 59 yard score to increase the visitor's lead to 10.
After the Schultz touchdown, the Raiders ran the clock down to 2:17 before when they had to punt. The snap sailed over the head of the punter and was recovered by none other than Schultz at the Raider's 32. Six plays later Swormstedt hit Chris Frontiero over the middle for winning score.
Laconia (now 3-4) will continue the playoff push on Friday night when they travel to Conway to take on Kennett (also 3-4).

Lebanon, also in the North Conference of NHIAA Division II, stand at 2-4.

Plymouth leads the conference at 6-0, pending the Bobcats' game today against Portsmouth, which stands at 5-1.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 December 1969 07:00

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