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School Board to request budget of $36.3-million

LACONIA — The School Board will present a maximum 2014-5015 budget request of $36,293,552 to the City Council on March 24 at 6 p.m.

The amount to be raised by taxes local taxes will be $17,669,159, which is up $672,488 while the amount to be raised by the statewide property tax is projected to be $4,608,269, which is down $118,146, for a net increase in local taxes of $554,340.

School Business Administrator Ed Emond said $36.3 million was calculated for tax cap purposes based on a Consumer Price Index-Urban or inflation rate of 1.5 and $19 million of net property value increases.

Traditionally, the school district figures its own budget by multiplying the dollar amount of the captured value of property taxes — the $19 million — by the 2013 school tax rate of of $12.06 per $1,000 evaluation. The city portion of that is $9.40, and the statewide property tax portion is $2.66.

Emond explained that the way the final school budget is determined is by calculating the maximum amount allowed under the tax cap, presenting that number to the city, and waiting for their acceptance of the total amount of money allocated to the school.

At that point, the School Board takes its priorities and "backs in" to the line-by-line budget that will be finalized by the School Board sometime in May or June. The city has until July to vote on a final budget that will include the school budget.

In other business, Superintendent Terri Forsten said the last day of school will be June 13 as was presented on the school calender in the fall of 2013.

Forsten said the school has used five snow days so far this year. But she said the number of hours the students have been in school satisfies state requirements.

"We can't take too many more (snow days) before we reach the (point where the school will have to add days to the calendar), she said with fingers crossed. "We will surpass (the number of hours) with 175 days."

High School graduation is scheduled for June 7, a Saturday, and the Laconia Academy graduation is scheduled for the Friday night before the high school graduation.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 March 2014 01:22

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Moultonborough voters deadlocked on $590,000 village sidewalk proposal

MOULTONBOROUGH — The future of fireworks and the village highlighted the Town Meeting that ran for six hours last Saturday.

A warrant article to forbid the use of "consumer" fireworks within the town, where "display" fireworks requiring a license would be be permitted, failed on a vote of 123 to 86. However, a second article restricting the use of "consumer" fireworks to the hours between noon and 10 p.m., excepting from the Fourth of July and New Years Eve when fuses could be lit until midnight and 15 minutes past midnight respectively, carried by a clear majority.

The village was the theme of three major articles. First, voters followed the recommendations of the Board of Selectmen and Advisory Budget Committee by agreeing to appropriate $275,000 for the purchase of the so-called Adele Taylor property by a vote of 176 to 62.

The 5.09-acre lot at 970 Whittier Highway (Route 25), which abuts properties belonging to the school district, Bank of New Hampshire and Huggins Hospital in the village commercial zone, was a centerpiece of the Village Charette Report accepted by the Planning Board in January 2013. In June the trustees approached the Board of Selectmen and the School Board with an offer to sell the property to the town and donate the proceeds from the sale to the School District, and a price of $240,900, matching the assessed value in 2012, was negotiated.

The selectmen convened a committee to consider possible uses for the property. Although 56 specific uses were suggested in the course of committee meetings and public hearings, the panel offered four perspectives and found that "the property is well suited for combining any number of uses and it is not the intention of this study to suggest that there is only a single potential use for the property."

In keeping with the Village Charette Report, Safe Routes to School Travel Plan and 2008 Master Plan, the property could provide access and egress to the school district property from Route 25. Alternatively, the committee found that the property could house a multipurpose community center. The committee also heard that the property presented an opportunity to develop a park in the center of the village. Finally, the report notes that residents expressed "considerable concern" that if the town does not acquire the property "anything can happen there" in compliance with the zoning ordinance.

By a similar margin of 171 to 68, voters approved an article to appropriate $17,500 for a site study pursuant to the report of The Blue Ribbon Commission Report on Community Services and Facilities. Dovetailing with one of the suggested uses for the Adele Taylor property, the report recommended that "the town pursue development of a facility that includes an indoor gymnasium, recreation department office, program and storage space that would be on existing school land or property adjacent to school facilities."

However, an article to spend $590,000 to complete the first phase of the village sidewalk project failed as voters deadlocked 101 to 101. The project included the design, engineering and construction some 2,560 linear feet of sidewalks and cross walks along Route 25, as well as costs of acquiring property and easements. The warrant article excluded a spur of 1,130 feet from Route 25 to Moultonborough Academy originally included in Phase 1.

Neither the selectmen nor the advisory budget committee recommended the project. Supporters stressed that sidewalks were a component of the Master Plan adopted in 2006 and would enhance the safety of pedestrians, especially senior citizens and school children.

Speaking against the project, Josh Bartlett of the Planning Board said that there was nothing to demonstrate the need for sidewalks, a view that was echoed by others who claimed that foot traffic in the village was sparse.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 March 2014 12:49

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Hector's Returns to 24th Annual Taste of the Lakes Region

MEREDITH — The 24th annual Taste of the Lakes Region will be held from 4-7 p.m. at Church Landing in Meredith on Sunday, March 30, and will feature more than 20 of the Lakes Region's finest restaurants serving up samples of their culinary specialties for the benefit of the Laconia Altrusa Club's community projects.

Over the years the event has raised nearly $300,000 for the Altrusa Club's efforts in promoting literacy, and providing scholarships, according to Carla Peterson of Hector's Fine Food & Spirits, which has been represented at all but one of the events.

Peterson and her husband, Carl, moved to the Lakes Region from Connecticut in 1986 after buying Hector's, which celebrates its 30th year in business this year.

''We had a couple of little kids and thought it was a nice place to move to,'' says Peterson, who bought the restaurant through real estate agent Nancy LeRoy, who also recruited her to join the Altrusa Club.

She was one of the club members who attended a Taste of the Seacoast event put on by the Altrusa Club in Portsmouth, which served as the model the local club sought to emulate when they held the first Taste of the Lakes Region at Pheasant Ridge Country Club in Gilford. Over the years it has grown to become a Lakes Region tradition.

''It's a great way to start the spring. It's like a big garden party and comes during mud season when people have cabin fever and want to get out and enjoy themselves but it's not quite warm enough to spend a lot of time outdoors,'' says Peterson.

Carl Peterson says that Hector's seafood stuffed mushrooms have become so popular at the event that they will be served again this year in response to popular demand while chef Peter Cullen will be preparing one of their new menu items, Sonoma Chicken.

Cullen said the dish features grilled chicken in a Cabernet Sauvignon sauce topped with mushrooms and onions and freshly grated parmesan. ''It's something on the lighter, healthier side,'' says Cullen.

Tickets cost $25 per person and can be purchased at Hart's Turkey Farm in Meredith, or in Laconia at Hector's or at the Coldwell-Banker Residential Brokerage on Court Street. Because there is a cash bar at the event, no one younger than 21 will be admitted.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 March 2014 12:17

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Scotia Technology sues seacoast company over A-10 aircraft components

LACONIA — A local aerospace company has filed a lawsuit against a seacoast company for failing to properly clean and perform a special kind of treatment of stainless steel tubing that was subsequently sold to the  Boeing Company which used them in the wings of the A-10 Aircraft used by the U.S. Air Force.

According to pleadings obtained from the Belknap County Superior Court, Scotia Technology, a division of Lakes Region Tubular Products Inc., said it lost more that $2.5 million fixing the deficiencies.

Scotia was notified by Boeing on Feb. 12, 2012, that the stainless steel tubing cleaned by Areodynamics Inc. of Seabrook, was leaking under hydraulic pressure from pin holes.

"On April 9 Scotia Technology was required to issue a Notice of Escape to Boeing and the matter was reported to the Air Force," said the pleading. "At the Hill Air Force Base in Utah and at the Robbins Air Force Base in Georgia, the Air Force suspended A-10 operations."

Scotia claims that the Air Force's A-10 program required them to replace all of the tubing at no cost to Boeing. Scotia also had to expedite its production schedule and ship the replacement tubing in time to meet the Boeing deadline September 2012 imposed by the Air Force.

The specialized kind of treatment — called passivation — involves cleaning recently molded stainless steel piping to remove any production materials like iron or iron compounds that may linger after machining and fabricating.

If not property done, these corrosive agents can lead to extreme pitting and the possible failure of stainless steel components.

The suit said that Aerodynamics "holds itself out as accredited and certified by the National Aerospace and Defense Contractors Accreditation Program" and said it complied with all required protocols.

Scotia claims that Aerodynamics used an alkaline solution that did not meet necessary standards, that one of the tanks the company used was not big enough to properly clean large tubes, and the rinse water was room temperature and not the required 140-160 degrees.

The suit also says that all of Areodynamics tanks were not labeled, that there was not enough nitric acid in the passivation bath, and that the tubes could not be rinsed in de-ionized water after the passivation bath because Aerodynamics used the same tub for both processes.

The suit also claims the drying operation at Aerodynamics was insufficient.

Scotia claims that they retained the independent company Materials Research that determined the chloride ions in the alkaline cleaning solution and in Seabrook tap water "were the root cause of the pinhole leaks in the stainless steel tubes."

Legally, Scotia filed a claim for breach of contract, breach of implied warranty of workman quality, a violation of the N.H. Consumer Protection Act, intentional or negligent misrepresentation and negligence.

At a scheduling hearing last week, Belknap County Judge James O'Neill determined both sides should be ready for trail by the end of 2015, but said both should reconsider mediation before moving forward to trial.

Lawyers for Scotia said mediation hasn't worked in the past and that Scotia fears that Aerodynamics will declare bankruptcy before mediation and trial.

Aerodynamics attorneys said the case is very complex, involves matters of national security, and that it will take a great deal of time to compile the discovery items that it anticipates will be requested by Scotia.

 

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 March 2014 01:14

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