ALTON — Charges of "figures lie and liars figure" swirled around the School Board meeting this week in the wake of a flyer composed by the Building and Grounds Committee, endorsed by the board members and produced by the superintendent's office, which claimed that the $18.7-million project to renovate and expand Alton Central School would add $0.34 per $1,000 of assessed value to the property tax rate.
"This was over the edge," Barbara Howard, who sits on the Budget Committee, said yesterday. "They are lying by omission and nobody benefits from dishonesty."
On Tuesday, voters will cast their ballots on a Special Warrant Article – Article II – to renovate, reconstruct, repair and construct an addition to the Alton Central School building. The bond seeks to raise and appropriate an approximate $17.7 million and withdraw the balance from several Capital Reserve Funds to fund the project.
Superintendent William Lander said that the flyer presents the "the net project cost" as $34 per year for each $100,000 of assessed value on the assumption that the $17.7-million is borrowed for 15 years at 2.99-percent. He explained that the bond issued for the construction of Prospect Mountain High School, which represented $0.68 per $1,000 of assessed value, was retired last year. Had the bond not been retired and the tax rate remained the same, he said, the incremental increase, or "net project cost" to taxpayers, would be $0.34 per $1,000 of assessed value.
"It's misleading," Howard charged, insisting the actual impact on the tax rate will be $1.02. She said that with the retirement of the prior debt in August, 2012, the 2013 tax rate would fall by $0.68 and by omitting this fact, the School Board sought to disguise the actual increase of $1.02.
Lander said that at the deliberative session of the town meeting both scenarios, the actual increase of $1.02 per $1,000 and "the net project cost" of $0.34 of $1,000, were presented as part of a slide show.
Howard was not appeased. "I spoke with the Attorney General's office," she said, "but was told they had not broken any enforceable law." She feared that the flyer will "mislead people into voting for something they will not be able to afford" and in the short time remaining until the vote is seeking "to get the facts out."
Last Updated on Tuesday, 23 July 2013 05:52
LACONIA — A Union Avenue man was ordered held on $10,000 cash-only bail after he allegedly drove while under the influence of alcohol — seven days after a different arrest for the same thing.
Kenneth Brunelle 51, of 758 Union Avenue Apt. 1 is charged with one count of aggravated driving under the influence and breach of bail. On July 12, he was charged with driving while intoxicated, subsequent offense, while on Doris Ray Court at 2:44 p.m.
Police affidavita filed with circuit court said an officer responded to Bond Beach at 9:02 a.m Friday after getting a call reporting there was a Toyota Corolla with two people and one of them had just fallen. The caller reported the two may be intoxicated.
When the officer arrived, affidavits said she saw two people in a silver Corolla and recognized the operator as Brunelle. She said the key was in the ignition and the car was not running. She noted the hood was warm.
She said she smelled alcohol and Brunelle's speech was "slurred and slow."
Brunelle allegedly failed a field sobriety test and agreed to a portable blood test that showed his blood-alcohol content or BAC to reportedly be .23.
A BAC of .08 or more is considered legally intoxicated for driving purposes and a BAC of .16 or greater is considered to be aggravated driving while intoxicated.
Once at the police station, Brunelle allegedly consented to the Intoxilyzer 5000 test and had a blood-alcohol of .24.
Because Brunelle is on bail for the DWI arrest of July 12 and part of his bail conditions from July 12 are to not consume alcohol, he is also charged with breach of bail.
Affidavits indicated Brunelle has past convictions from criminal trespass, theft, resisting arrest, simple assault and driving under the influence. His DUI conviction is from 2006 and was in Laconia District Court.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 23 July 2013 04:05
LACONIA — Over 1,000 turned out on a warm and cloudy Sunday afternoon at Robbie Mills Field to watch the New England Collegiate Baseball League All-Star Game, a pitcher's duel which saw Joe Torres of the host Muskrats cross the plate with the winning run in the eighth inning to give the East All-Stars a 2-1 victory.
License plates in the parking lots showed cars from as far away as Kansas, Missouri, Virginia. South Carolina and Georgia, with cars from New Jersey and New York nearly equaling those from the New England states combined with the exception of host state New Hampshire.
And while many were there to root for their family members or those playing in hometown teams of the 13-team league, there was another group of people present with a high interest in the assembled baseball talent; major league scouts were present representing nearly every one of the 30 major league baseball teams, many armed with charts and radar guns.
''It's a great day for us and for the league,'' said Muskrats general manager Noah Crane, as he watched the big crowd, which the NECBL said amounted to 1,012 people, coming into the ballpark.
Starting on the mound for the Eastern Division All Stars was Laconia's Will Blalock.
Blalock a junior from Lipscomb University, the second Muskrat pitcher to start an All Star Game, following Justin Wiley in 2011, surrendered the only run scored by the West in the first inning.
North Adams Steeple Cats second baseman Joe Landi lined a one-out single to right and moved to second on a ground out and scored when cleanup man JP Sportman of the Keene Swamp Bats doubled to the gap in left center. Dan Spignola of the Danbury Westerners followed with a single to center but Sportman was cut down at the plate by East centerfielder Andrew Sanromauro's throw to home.
The East tied the score in the third inning. Sanford's Troy Black led off the inning with a single, then stole second. An error allowed the inning to continue and Newport's Joel McKeithan tied the game with a base hit to center.
Pitching dominated through the next five innings and the East narrowly escaped in the seventh when the West squad had runners in scoring position. Travis Stout of the Plymouth Pilgrims worked his way out of the jam by getting a grounder and a strikeout.
In the bottom of the eighth, the East pulled ahead with a one-out single from All-Star Game MVP Joe Torres of the Muskrats starting the rally. The Laconia outfielder, after swinging and missing on a pitch in the dirt, lined a base hit to left. He then moved up to second when Carl Anderson was hit by pitch. Tyler Boyd of the Mystic Schooners then drilled a single to right and an errant throw by Vahn Bozoian of the Holyoke Blue Sox rolled through the diamond and allowed Torres to score.
Newport's Kyle Wilcox earned the win, Sanford's Steven Rice notching a save. The loss went to North Adams' Joe Anthony Rivera.
The John Watterson NECBL All Star Game MVP, named for the former Keene Swamp Bats manager, went to Torres. who plays for Iona College and leads the NECBL with 21 walks and 21 stolen bases.
The annual event started at 12:30 with player photos. Following photos was the 60 yard dash administered by MLB scouts. Cody Jones from the Newport Gulls was the NECBL's fastest runner, posting a time of 6.45 seconds. The Home Run Derby was won by Sanford's Nate LaPoint who defeated Holyoke's Vahn Bozoian.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 23 July 2013 03:53
LACONIA —The City Council last night unanimously agreed to invest as much as $382,500 in cosmetic improvements at the Main Street bridge over the Winnipesaukee River after refusing to fully fund the construction of the "Gateway Plaza" recommended by the Advisory Board of the Downtown Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District, which came with an estimated price tag of between $417,540 and $486,032.
At the same time, the council deferred a decision on a half-dozen other projects recommended by the Advisory Board, including stretches of the Riverwalk and WOW Trail, with an estimated cost of $1.3-million, to a future meeting.
In presenting the gateway project, Kevin Dunleavy, director of Rarks and recreation who chairs the Advisory Board, said that the reconstruction of the bridge, slated to begin next spring, offered "an opportunity to do a first class improvement" that would last 40 or 50 years. He said that since any improvements must be incorporated into the design of the bridge, which is scheduled to be put to bid in September, a decision was "time sensitive" and cautioned "we could lose our window."
Dunleavy acknowledged that the Main Street Initiative group of business and property owners expressed opposition to the project "as presented," but said that "we feel there is support beyond the Advisory Board, but cannot claim there is a consensus."
Both councilors Bob Hamel (Ward 5) and Henry Lipman (Ward 3) questioned the board's recommendation. "It's way more than I'd like to see spent there," said Lipman, while Hamel said that $450,000 is a lot for a small area."
Speaking as president of the Main Street Initiative, John Moriarty said that the organization deemed extending the downtown riverwalk along the north bank of the Winnipesaukee River its highest priority and, if necessary, was willing "to forego any improvements at Gateway Plaza."
However, Bob Sawyer, representing downtown property owners who he said together pay "over six figures in annual property taxes," described the space as "the face of downtown" and insisted "we do should do something. I'm not opposed to anything tonight," he continued. This is an opportunity we have and whatever we do we're going to be looking at for 40 or 50 years."
Lipman proposed spending $15,000 to prepare the site and $67,500 to prepare the site for landscaping by installing electricity, water and drainage. "Don't foreclose future improvements," he said.
But, Hamel, persuaded by Sawyer, suggested spending another $250,000 and asked Dunleavy to instruct the architects and engineers to prepare a design to fit the budget.
Warren Clement, a member of the Advisory Board, proposed upping the ante to $300,000 and his fellow board member Ken Sawyer reminded the councilors that "this is one of those situations where you can't go back and spending a little more now will save more later."
Last Updated on Tuesday, 23 July 2013 03:35
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