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Belmont BudCom unanimous in support of renovating mill building

BELMONT — The Budget Committee last night unanimously blessed a warrant article that would authorized the town to borrow up to $3,357,250 to repair and renovate the historic Belmont Mill for use as town offices.

The vote came after construction manager Keith McBey of Bonnette, Page and Stone Co. of Laconia explained the scope of the project and Selectmen Ruth Mooney and Jon Pike explained their reasoning for supporting it.

The cost of the project dropped by about $275,000 from Monday night to Tuesday when McBey went to some local contractors and asked for target bidding.

Members of the Budget Committee wanted to know what the big picture for Belmont was in the minds of selectmen before they cast their votes.

Tonyel Mitchell-Berry specifically asked if the selectmen would recommend tearing down the old town hall on Main Street and Mooney said she would because the center of town needs parking. Mitchell-Berry agreed a park or something else would be preferable.

The current town offices, said Pike, were condemned in 1963 and the basement is not usable because of dampness.

Budget Committee Chair Ron Mitchell said that this is not the first time the town has talked about new town offices. He had documentation that in 2003 a new building, whose location was unknown, would have cost $2.3 million. He said the voters said no.

The need for a renovation of the Belmont Mill came as a surprise about two years ago when the selectmen learned that the fourth floor was not able to carry the weight load for the Lakes Region Community College Culinary Arts Program.

In order to fix the fourth floor, the third floor which is occupied by a doctor's offices, would have to be vacated, meaning the town would loose two floors of revenue. In addition, the day care on the first floor is relocating to a larger space because it cannot accommodate the number of children in the mill location.

With the Budget Committee's support, the next steps are a public bond hearing on January 20, a public hearing on the project itself on January 13 — both at 6:30 p.m. at the Corner Meeting House — and the SB-2 deliberative session on January 31.
Town Administrator Jeanne Beaudin said the Board of Selectmen is considering a second public hearing or information session in February.


Last Updated on Wednesday, 07 January 2015 02:04

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Lucky Charms under attack at Gilford School Board meeting

GILFORD — A couple of parents of Elementary School students feel that food served in the school's cafeteria is not as healthy as it could be, prompting the School Board to invite them to meet with the committee which is considering revisions to the School District's policy about food service.

Bethany Cote, the mother of a kindergarten student, gave the board a letter Monday evening signed by her and another parent outlining various concerns.

Following the meeting Cote said that she was particularly troubled that many of the foods offered at breakfast contain a high amount of sugar and artificial food coloring. By way of example she said the only cereal offered was Lucky Charms, the main ingredients of which are oat pieces and multi-colored marshmallow shapes.

"At breakfast the kids are getting a lot of sugar," Cote said. "The kids need high protein and less sugar."

Cote added that the schools should be offering more in the way of healthier foods so children will learn how to make healthy food choices on their own.

Cote said she and others would accept School Board Chairman Sue Allen's invitation to participate in forthcoming discussions by a School Board committee which will be reviewing proposed changes to the School District policy dealing with health considerations in food served in school cafeterias.

In other business, the board approved a reduction of about $8,000 in the 2015-2016 default budget, which is being presented this week to the Gilford Budget Committee, along with the School Board's recommended budget for the coming fiscal year. The new default budget figure is $25,386,367, Assistant Superintendent for Business Scott Isabelle told the board.

The board is recommending a budget of $25.4 million — a 2.9 percent increase over the current plan. While the amount being recommended by the board includes staff reductions which account for drop of $227,409 in pay and benefits, and a $287,305 reduction in the amount to be spent on maintenance and special projects, those savings are more that offset by $226,247 more the district has to pay in to the State Retirement Fund, and an increase of $288,047 in health insurance premiums. Other increases in the proposed budget total $422,322.

The Budget Committee is scheduled to meet Thursday at 6:30 p.m. to take up the proposed school budget. The School Board has scheduled a special meeting after the Budget Committee votes on what figure for school spending the committee will recommend to voters.

NOTES: The board approved accepting $6,399 in grants from the Gilford Education Endowment Fund to pay costs associated with innovative education programs, such as robotics, and a program sponsored by the state Fish and Game Department which teaches students about the raising of stocks of brook trout. . . . . . The board also accepted a $3,000 grant from Meredith Village Savings Bank which will go toward arts programs at Gilford High School. Gilford High School tied with Belmont High School in a Facebook contest to determine the grant winners. . . .  . . Members of the Gilford High School Student Council reported to the board about an event in December when residents of the New Hampshire Veterans Home spoke to groups of students about their military experience.



Last Updated on Tuesday, 06 January 2015 02:15

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Man set to plead guilty to taking $2k from Sanbornton couple for roof repair

LACONIA — A Rochester man is scheduled to plead guilty in the Belknap County Superior Court to one count of theft by deception for falsifying his credentials to get a Sanbornton homeowner to pay him a deposit for a roofing job.

Daniel Brochu, 70, allegedly created the false impression that he had completed some roofing work that was not completed so a Sanbornton couple would pay him $2,000.

Brochu has agreed to repay the victims the $2,000 and to serve 12 months in the Belknap County House of Corrections — all suspended.

He will be ordered to be of good behavior for two years.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 06 January 2015 02:00

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Grease fire 'nothing major'; Sanbornton chief lauds relationship with resort

SANBORNTON — Firefighters from a number of area communities responded to what ended up being a grease fire in one of the kitchens at Steele Hill Resort Sunday night.

Fire Chief Paul Dexter said the chef had been able to extinguish the fire with a dry fire extinguisher but was splattered with grease along his arms.

He said the chef was taken to Lakes Region General Hospital in Laconia as a precaution.

Dexter said the owners of Steele Hill Resort and the Sanbornton Fire Department have a very close working relationship.

He explained that because of the remote location, management, security, and maintenance have trained and drilled with the fire department and an alarm there usually brings considerable help from surrounding communities.

He said buildings are set up with safe zones so that if the general alarm sounds, the staff knows where to bring people so they don't have to stand outside during an alarm.

"Luckily, this was nothing major," Dexter said.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 06 January 2015 01:56

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