CONCORD — Without debate ,the New Hampshire House of Representatives this week passed a bill that clarifies the taxation of recreational vehicles kept year around on campgrounds while sparing Laconia from decreased assessed valuation, foregone property tax revenue and increased tax rate.
Senator Jeanie Forrester (R-Meredith), the bill's prime sponsor, said that she will recommend the Senate accept the bill as amended by the House.
As originally introduced, Senate Bill 333 would have exempted from property taxation recreational vehicles remaining in any one city, town or unincorporated place for fewer than 45 days as well as recreational vehicles stored or placed on a rented campsite at a recreational campground or camping park no matter for how long.
After the Senate unanimously passed the bill Jon Duhamel, the city assessor, counted 423 recreational vehicles parked at a dozen campgrounds year around with an aggregate assessed value of $9,994,500. They have been taxed for years, but would become exempt from property tax if the bill were enacted. He estimates that the city would forgo more than $220,000 in revenue, which would add 10 cents to the property tax rate.
At the request of city officials the bill was amended by the House Municipal and County Government Committee so as to safeguard the city's tax base. As amended by the committee and passed by the House the bill exempts only those recreational vehicles with a maximum width of eight-feet, six-inches, registered as motor vehicles, bearing a current number plate and located at a campground from property taxation. In other words, so-called "park models," wider than eight-feet, six-inches that cannot be transported without a special permit, and unregistered recreational vehicles less than eight-feet, six inches in width, would be taxed as real estate.
Before April 1 each year campground owners would be required to provide municipal assessors with the name and address of the owners of recreational vehicles at their campgrounds and to identify those exempt from property taxation. Campground owners would not be responsible for the payment of any taxes imposed on recreational vehicles at their facilities.
City Manager Scott Myers said that the amendment mirrors the practice the city has followed since 1999 when the New Hampshire Supreme Court ruled that trailers meeting certain criteria should be taxed as real estate. He said that the amendment addresses the major issues of concern to both the city and campground owners.
Last Updated on Saturday, 10 May 2014 01:35
LACONIA — A local woman who police described as transient was charged with breach of bail, criminal mischief, and assault after police said she threw a chair at a friend of hers and punched him in the head Tuesday night.
Affidavits obtained from the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division said Brianna L Blanchard, 23, was visiting a friend of hers on Union Avenue Tuesday at 9:24 a.m.
During an argument with the victim, Blanchard allegedly threw a wicker chair at him. She missed but the chair damaged the sheet rock in his apartment.
Blanchard also allegedly hit him repeatedly with her hands and them punched him with a closed fist.
She fled when the victim threatened to call police. He told them she was "homeless" and he was giving her a place to stay for a few days. He also said he let her use his cell phone and told police he believes she still had it.
Laconia Police also confirmed with Belmont Police that Blanchard has bail conditions issued to her on March 7 stemming from an arrest for the fraudulent use of a credit card.
Blanchard is also facing additional charges from Gilford for driving after revocation also on March 17.
She is also facing charges of prostitution stemming from a Laconia arrest that dates back to October of 2013.
Blanchard was ordered held on $400 cash bail. According to Belknap County Department of Corrections personnel, she has posted it and is no longer incarcerated.
Last Updated on Saturday, 10 May 2014 01:15
LACONIA — The Belknap County Jail Planing Committee has been allotted 15 to 20 minutes of time during the public input session of a Belknap County Convention meeting scheduled for May 27 at 5 p.m. for a discussion of the county jail, according to Convention Chair Colette Worsman (R-Meredith).
But the committee requested earlier this week that it be placed on the agenda so that it could discuss the urgent needs of the jail with the convention and has renewed its request that it be placed on the agenda, noting that it is not asking to add to public input but is asking for the delegation's input and decision.
The jail committee met Tuesday night and despite reluctance expressed by its chairman County Commissioner Ed Philpot (D-Laconia) about committee members attending the May 27 meeting reached a consensus that it should bring its plan for a $2.96 million supplemental appropriation to the convention and have County Corrections Superintendent Daniel Ward make the presentation.
The committee wants $360,000 so that it can begin work on a schematic design plan for a new jail, $1 million for replacing the HVAC system at the current jail and $1.6 million for a three-year contract for installation of a 48-bed temporary housing unit at the jail.
Worsman said that she is allotting one hour of the meeting for public input and that the goal of the meeting is to have the delegation talk about the jail with its constituents. ''This will provide an opportunity for the public to speak to the delegates about what they want,'' said Worsman.
She said that county officials, including Ward, had not been invited to the convention meeting to give any presentations but would be welcome to speak during the public input session.
County Administrator Debra Shackett e-mailed Worsman on Wednesday asking that the committee be placed on the agenda ''to explain our next steps and discuss the possibility of borrowing money to address the most urgent needs at the jail as well as continuing to plan for a new facility. We would also be available to answer any questions about the process to date.''
Worsman replied ''Yes, as always everyone is welcome to attend our meetings. If the Jail Planning committee would like to add their input that would be great. I will be placing 1 hour for public input on the agenda beginning with the Planning Committee. Please be sure it is limited to 15-20 minutes as I am certain most of us are well aware of their efforts to date. I also want to ensure there is time for other public input. Secondly this meeting is not scheduled for additional appropriation so that is not part of this meeting.''
Shackett replied that the committee preferred to be placed on the agenda before the public input session. ''Will you please add The Jail Planning Committee to your agenda, as a separate item, and prior to "public input"? It should answer a lot of questions for the public and will be very much appreciated.''
She also asked if Worsman preferred a different approach of scheduling a separate meeting to consider the Jail Planning Committee's recommendation for improvements to the jail. She said it would involve a bond issue and not necessarily any additional appropriation for 2014.
Philpot told his fellow commissioners at last week's commission meeting that he felt that inn the wake of the convention's rejection by a 9-7 vote of a collective bargaining agreement for employees of the Belknap County Nursing Home that he felt that bringing any request for a supplemental appropriation before the convention would be an exercise in futility.
The Jail Planning Committee meets again on May 20 at 6 p.m. at the Belknap County Complex and will consider its response to being limited to only speaking at the public input session.
The committee has been looking at ways to bring the cost of a new facility to below $30 million for a proposed 94,000-square-foot, 180-bed community corrections facility, which carried a conceptual design estimate cost of $42.6 million.
The current facility has a capacity of 110 inmates in what was designed as an 87 inmate facility.
Last Updated on Saturday, 10 May 2014 01:10
CONCORD — When the New Hampshire House of Representatives voted 192 to 172 this week not to reconsider its earlier vote to scuttle a bill to introduce casino gambling, 14 of the 18 members from Belknap County stood with the majority.
Only Reps. Lisa DiMartino of Gilford, Ruth Gulick of New Hampton and David Huot of Laconia — all Democrats — and Republican Dennis Fields of Sanbornton, voted to resuscitate Senate Bill 366. The same four representatives were the lone members of the county delegation to vote in favor of the bill the week before when it failed by the single tie-breaking vote of the Speaker Pro-Tem.
The other 12 Republicans — Richard Burchell of Gilmanton, Guy Comtois of Barnstead, Jane Cormier and Stephen Holmes of Alton, Charles Fink and Michael Sylvia of Belmont, Don Flanders, Bob Luther and Frank Tilton of Laconia, and Bob Greemore, Herb Vadney and Colette Worsman of Meredith — and two remaining Democrats — Democrats Beth Arsenault of Laconia and Ian Raymond of Sanbornton — voted not to reconsider.
Last Updated on Saturday, 10 May 2014 01:04
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