By THOMAS P. CALDWELL, LACONIA DAILY SUN
GILFORD — Residents will have an opportunity to weigh in on how the town uses its portion of a $30 million highway grant to New Hampshire communities that was announced on Monday.
The Gilford Board of Selectmen will hold a public hearing at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 9, as required by law for unanticipated revenue, before it is able to officially accept the $191,047 grant.
The money is part of the state’s year-end surplus. Normally those funds go into the revenue stabilization reserve account, commonly known as the Rainy Day Fund, but legislators agreed to distribute $30 million of this year’s surplus to municipalities as a one-time supplement to the regular annual grants that assist communities with road improvement projects.
Town Administrator Scott Dunn said the selectmen will be asking for suggestions on which roads should be repaired with the money.
The town has a road maintenance plan that identifies road projects that should be done over the next five years, but the plan can be adjusted, based on available funds and a review of the priorities.
The town had already scheduled another public hearing for Aug. 9, which addresses a petition to have the town accept a section of road known as Kimball Road Extension. By accepting the road, it would make it a Class V highway with the town having responsibility for its maintenance. The town would have to make sure it is in suitable condition for public travel, but it also would gain regulatory control over the road.
Both hearings will take place at the beginning of the regular selectmen’s meeting.
Selectmen are still looking to fill positions on the sign review committee. They have two more openings for members of the public and are looking to appoint someone with a real estate background, as well as a representative of a nonprofit organization.
The sign review committee will make a recommendation on how to address a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that found content-based regulation of speech violates the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and that towns must treat all signs equally.
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