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School board delays 2014-2015 budget decision

LACONIA — Although the proposed 2014-2015 budget was scheduled for a vote at last night's School Board meeting, members voted unanimously not to discuss it or vote on it.

When asked why, Budget and Personnel Committee Chair Scott Vachon said members of his committee had not had enough time to get details about the administration's proposed budget.

A budget presentation had been scheduled for last night's meeting as well and a hand-out of the PowerPoint given to The Daily Sun before the meeting started was taken back by school officials. Board members said that so far only the members of the Budget and Personnel Committee had reviewed a copy of the PowerPoint presentation, meaning only three of the seven members had it, so it is not yet a public document.

The School Board is scheduled to present its budget to the City Council on April 28 and Vachon said he was going to ask the city for an extension of the presentation date.

Little is known about the proposed budget except that a tax cap calculation presented to the Budget and Personnel Committee in early March showed a tax cap ceiling of $36.3 million, up 3.8 percent from last year.

The maximum amount the school district can raise through taxes is a net increase of $554,000 over last year's budget.

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 16 April 2014 01:15

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Plymouth man arrested in Bristol after police chase

FRANLKIN — A homeless Plymouth man faces a host of charges for allegedly stealing a car yesterday and leading police on a car chase that began in Boscawen and ended in Bristol.

According to state police, Shaun Michael Cook, 36, allegedly stole a green 1996 Chevrolet Blazer yesterday morning from Queen Street in Boscawen.

He was spotted on Route 3 at 8:18 a.m. near Route 127 by a N.H. State Trooper and Franklin Police. Attempts to stop the car were unsuccessful. The driver increased his speed and police pursued the vehicle along Route 3A through Hill.

At 8:29 a.m. Bristol police used a "tire deflation device" that caused the front tires of the car to slowly deflate, bringing the car to a stop about one-half mile down the road.

Cook is charged with receiving stolen property, felony reckless conduct, felony parole violation, disobeying a police officer, and driving after suspension.

He also faces charges of false imprisonment, criminal threatening, and simple assault stemming from a recent incident in Plymouth.

Cook is scheduled to appear in the 2nd District Court, Plymouth Division this morning.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 April 2014 12:54

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Sen. Forrester graces cover of Parade magazine for annual salary survey

MEREDITH — State Sen. Jeanie Forrester (R-Meredith) became a cover girl last weekend when she appeared on the front of Parade magazine alongside the likes of actors Matthew McConaughey and Sandra Bullock, singers Miley Cyrus and Bruno Mars and Vice President Joe Biden touting the magazine's annual salary survey.

Forrester was one of more than 60 men and women from all walks of life who earn less than $200,000 chosen to figuratively rub elbows with movie stars, pop idols, athletes and writers. With her annual salary as a state senator of $100 Forrester is easily the church mouse of the bunch, earning much less than the $5,000 paid to a sometime character actor and the $6,000 earned by an erstwhile accordion player.

Of course, Forrester, like many of her 23 colleagues in the New Hampshire Senate and 400 members of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, has a another source of income. She and her husband, Keith, own and operate an environmental firm in Meredith.

Forrester, who chairs the Senate Finance Committee, told the New Hampshire Sunday News that $100 a year is "a fine salary. I really love my job, " she continued. "Other states pay their representatives more money, but I don't think they govern any better than we do."

Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 April 2014 12:23

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Council moves forward on fire station

LACONIA — The City Council last night approved the expenditure of $67,400 to fund the first phase of a contract with Warrenstreet Architects, Inc. of Concord to prepare a schematic design and cost estimate of the expansion and renovation of the Central Fire Station.

Deputy Fire Chief Charles Roffo, working with Jonathan Halle of Warrenstreet, prepared a conceptual plan, which was presented to the council in February. Meanwhile, City Manager Scott Myers included $4.1-million to design, engineer and construct the project in his recommended budget for 2014-2015. However, a schematic design design is required for a more accurate estimate of the cost of the project.

The includes the renovation of 13,135 square feet of the existing station to serve as an apparatus bay and training area and the construction of a two-story, 12,000 square foot addition to house the administrative offices, emergency operations center and dormitory. He estimated the cost of the project at $4,187,000, more than $777,000 less than the original plan prepared in 2008.

Last week Halle told the Land and Buildings Committee of the council that for the $67,400 an estimate within five or ten percent could be prepared. If the City Council chooses to proceed with the project, the firm would prepare the construction documents required to put the work to bid for another $101,500. He said that the work could be bid later this year and construction begun as early as October. Alternatively the project could be undertaken in 2015 and completed in one construction season.
NOTE: The City Council also accepted a matching grant, consisting of $75,000 worth of in-kind services, including information technology and economic analysis, from the Orton Family Foundation to fund development of the 2017 Master Plan. Planning Director Shanna Saunders said that the grant will be matched with a cash grant of $20,000 from the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, $20,000 from the Planning Department budget and $35,000 of in-kind services from the Carsey Institute of the University of New Hampshire.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 April 2014 01:15

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