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'Tipping fee' hike in Laconia will mean higher trash disposal rates for Gilford residents

GILFORD — For the second time in two years, selectmen are planning to increase the fees collected for solid waste to help offset the town's subsidy of trash disposal.

Town Administrator Scott Dunn said the town plans on raising the amount collected from residents from $30 per ton to $45 per ton. He said this should raise the revenue to the town by about $75,000.

Solid waste or garbage collection costs can be broken down into three-parts: the cost of getting the garbage to the Laconia Transfer Station, the cost of getting the garbage from Laconia to the Wheelabrator facility in Penacook, and the cost of incinerating it.

In Gilford, individual residents bear the full expense of getting the garbage to Laconia. The town doesn't have a transfer station or curbside pickup and residents either take their garbage to the Laconia station or pay a private trash hauler to take it.

The costs of transporting the garbage to Penacook and disposing of it is currently $66.80 per ton and is called a tipping fee. This fee is projected to increase to about $70 for the calender year 2015 said Dunn.

The town of Gilford pays the upfront costs to Laconia and a portion of the revenue collected from the sale of coupons to residents who haul their own or by haulers who pay by the ton to dump their loads is returned to the town.

The town disposes of about 5,000 tons of trash per year. For accounting purposes, the town budgets $350,000 annually as an expense and creates a revenue offset for the money returned to Gilford by Laconia once the fees are paid.

If the town raises its fees for disposal at the Laconia Transfer Station, Dunn said it would mean that the town will be subsidizing about 50-percent of the costs instead of the 67 percent it currently subsidizes.

When the board broached the subject last year, Public Works Director Sheldon Morgan said it was tantamount to shifting it to more of a user fee and less of a property tax.

"Either way, someone will pay the bill," he said.

Last year, there was some strong push back from some residents who said that garbage collection is one of the key functions of local government and the town should be paying for it through property taxation.

Their fear was the private haulers would use the rate increase as an excuse to increase their rates and trash disposal would ultimately cost residents and taxpayers alike more in the long run.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 21 October 2014 12:16

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Majority of Bridgewater-Hebron committee backs away from leaving Newfound

by Thomas P. Caldwell

BRISTOL — The Bridgewater-Hebron Withdrawal Study Committee has concluded that, while feasible, it would not be desirable to secede from the Newfound Area School District at this time.
Committee Chair Patrick Moriarty of Hebron and Vincent Paul Migliore of Bridgewater voted against the motion to end the study.
Bristol Selectman Rick Alpers announced the committee's decision at his board's meeting on Oct. 16, saying it means there will be no warrant article in March and no need to move ahead with the study now that the Newfound Area School Board has responded to the towns' persistent request to pull the sixth graders from the middle school and return their classes to the elementary schools.
"The school board is finally doing something, and that has appeased a lot of parents," Alpers said.
Migliore, who had predicted that directing the superintendent to come up with an implementation plan for a K-6 educational structure would appease Bridgewater and Hebron residents, said in a telephone interview that he wanted to go forward with the withdrawal in any case, "because I understand the politics of how this is going to play out".
He explained that, because the superintendent will not present her implementation plan until April, it will give those who disagreed with the decision a chance to elect new school board members who might reverse the vote. "The report won't be until after the elections in the spring, and there will be two or three new members on the board," Migliore said. "There may be enough votes to make that happen, and then Groton, Bridgewater, and Hebron will vote to go forward again with withdrawal."
Alpers who was among the selectmen serving on the study committee, said he is optimistic about the future. "What came out of these meetings was, let's bring all the selectmen together to share resources, and have a greater discussion," he said. "We have this $22 million school district with a failed business model. We need to look at what will happen if we do change, and what else we can do to save money."
Alpers continued, "We've got a problem. If the numbers continue to decline, in a few years, we will have the same number of students as when we started the district, with all these extra facilities."
Selectman Shaun Lagueux pointed out that the school board had not yet made a decision on what will happen with the middle school after the sixth graders are removed, leaving only seventh and eighth graders in the building. He added that the Bridgewater-Hebron Village School can accommodate sixth graders but some of the other elementary schools will be hard-pressed to find the space for the additional classes.
During the public comment period, resident John Sellers said his concern with the school board's decision in not addressing the future of the middle school at the same time is that it might leave Bristol with a higher educational cost.
When it made the decision to implement a K-6 educational model, the school board sidestepped the issue of Newfound Memorial Middle School's future, suggesting that the central office, currently in rented space, might be moved into the building, along with special services and other offerings by the school district. Superintendent Stacy Buckley will need to address those issues in her April report.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 21 October 2014 12:11

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Large group of Prospect Mountain students in court, to learn

CIRCUIT COURT — About 50 students from the ninth grade civics class at Prospect Mountain High School in Alton spent the morning in the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division as part of a lesson on how courts and the judicial system works.

Presiding Judge Jim Carroll greeted the students and queried them briefly on their knowledge of the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and how those protections works.

Carroll also questioned them about the meaning of Veteran's Day.

He told them they should be especially respectful of the men and women who have served in the armed forces who have fought and died so students like them could have the rights afforded them under the Constitution.

"We have a duty as citizens to at least know what our rights are," Carroll told them.

The students were accompanied by civics teacher Kim Kelliher, substitute civics teacher Brian Stuart, a guidance councilor, Laurie Maheu and School Resource Office Sean Sullivan.

Each year, all ninth grade social studies students attend a court room session withing the N.H. Judiciary.


CUTLINE: Prospect Mountain High School ninth graders attend a session at the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division yesterday. (Laconia Daily Sun Photo/Gail Ober)

Last Updated on Tuesday, 21 October 2014 12:06

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Smith Cove sailing school gets town approval

GILFORD — The Planning Board Monday night granted site plan approval to the Lake Winnipesaukee Sailing Association for a sailing school on Smith Cove which will operate from a .64-acre lot with 160 feet of shorefront property at 25 Davis Road.
The association used the property for a school this past summer on the basis of a three-month temporary approval, which the planning board granted in June. The property is located next to a plot of land on Smith Cove owned by the Winnipesaukee Yacht Club, which along with nearby Fay's Boat Yard have been among the chief supporters of the non-profit sailing association since it was first formed in 1988.
The LWSA acquired the property for $595,000 earlier this year, after a seven-year search to find a location for the school, which serves youths aged 6 to 16 and also offers instruction for disadvantaged sailors. The former single-family lot is now classified as a marina, which is a permitted use in the lakefront zone.
The approval came following a public hearing Monday night at which several changes in the application proposed by abutter Jim Sawyer were mostly agreed to by LWSA President Kevin Hayes.
The association has agreed to erect a fence between their property and Sawyer's but Sawyer said he was concerned that in the future their might be efforts to use the property for socials, weddings and birthday parties. He said that it was too small for those kind of uses, as well as for the kind of clubhouse which the association had once sought permission from the state to build at Ellacoya State Park.
Sawyer said he had no objections to the association holding its annual meetings at the Davis Road location but said he didn't want to see ''something going on every weekend'' which would affect all those who live in the area.
Hayes said that there were no plans to rent out the three buildings on the property, a single-family home, a two-car garage and a small storage building, for any social gatherings, nor any plans to create a clubhouse on the property and described the Ellacoya plan as ''something that still haunts us. That's not what we're going to do here.''
He also said that Sawyer's assertion that the association had 200 members was incorrect. ''We have 20 and if we got 200 we would be moving off from Davis Road because having 200 members would mean we had a lot of money,'' said Hayes.
Joseph Bernard, who lives at 18 Davis Road, said that he was still opposed to the proposal saying that the sailing club ''started with 30 kids and could get up to 200'' and that he had heard plans for use of the property during the winter months.
''The lot is too small. It's just a postage stamp. And having the school here will affect the neighborhood as well as Smith Cove, which is the most densely populated boating area on Lake Winnipesaukee,'' said Bernard.
The board took up the site plan following two other public hearings Monday night and eventually approved it. Several conditions were attached to the approval according to Jon Ayer, town planner, who said that they were added to address concerns expressed by abutters about potential, future uses of the property.

The Lake Winnipesaukee Sailing Association has received approval from the Gilford Planning Board to operate a sailing school on Smith Cove. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

Last Updated on Tuesday, 21 October 2014 11:37

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