Homeless man charged with stealing motorcycle


LACONIA — A local man charged with multiple offenses, including bail jumping and felony receiving stolen property for being in possession of a stolen motorcycle, was released on $5,000 personal recognizance bail Friday provided he get a spot in a local homeless shelter.

David Godbout, 48, whose last known address is in Belmont, was on Shaker Road just after midnight when a patrol sergeant saw him driving a motorcycle that had been reported stolen from a Laconia residence about four hours earlier.

Godbout was charged with receiving stolen property, aggravated driving while intoxicated, and driving after a license suspension. Belmont Police said he had warrants for his arrest for shoplifting from both Laconia and Tilton.

A bail commissioner released Godbout on $1,000 personal recognizance bail and he was given a court date of June 23 in the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division.

When he failed to appear, a warrant was issued for his arrest and Belmont Police added a charge of bail jumping.

Laconia Police arrested him Friday after finding him sleeping in a car on River Street. He was charged with one count of criminal mischief and affidavits said he told police he had slept in another car earlier because he had no place to go.

Belmont Police requested he be held on $500 cash while Laconia Police said personal recognizance bail would be acceptable for their criminal mischief charge.

His public defender told the court that Godbout was unable to raise $500. When he went to argue that Godbout is from the area, Judge Jim Carroll said he knew him well and was aware of his ties to the community.

"(These charges) are a creature of homelessness, not a creature of malice," he said, adding that, if he is released, Godbout wants to seek a spot in an alcohol-free environment like the Carey House but would be first going to the hospital.

The Belmont prosecutor said Godbout has multiple prior offenses, including a total of three simple assaults that date back to 1991 and 2010. The balance of his offenses, as read in court, were operating a motor vehicle after being deemed an habitual offender, shoplifting and willful concealment.

When asked by the judge, he said Godbout's blood alcohol content was allegedly 1.8 when he was arrested on Shaker Road. Laconia Police said there was a strong odor of alcohol when they found him sleeping in a stranger's car on River Street Thursday.

Carroll told Godbout, who appeared by video, that if the current charges he faces were alleged crimes against people and not property crimes, he would not consider personal recognizance bail.

Carroll said he must live in the Carey House, report every Tuesday to Compliance Court, remain drug-free and alcohol-free, and sign a waiver of extradition.

Chief Cormier gets commendation from police training academy


LACONIA — Tilton Police Chief Robert Cormier was given a citation last week by New Hampshire Police Standards and Training Director Don Vittum for leadership and support in helping to fund the academy.

Cormier spent the last year as the president of the New Hampshire Chiefs of Police Association and spent a great deal of time working with state legislatures to create a law that would fund the academy so high-quality police training can continue.

"It was a nice surprise," said Cormier who was given the award during the monthly Belknap County police chief's meeting. "I didn't expect it."

Cormier said that he was grateful to the state legislators for listening to him and taking his input into the funding issue, regardless of whether they agreed with him or not.

"I really felt that they respected me whether we agreed or not," Cormier said.

This past session, both the House and the Senate passed a version of Senate Bill 527-FN that would allow for direct funding through the appropriations process rather than having the "academy" rely solely on the payments of fees and fines attached to criminal sentences.

Last year, the academy told state police departments that it was cutting back on the number of classes police officers could take for free. While most of the classes that were cut were for specialized training, local police chiefs said they were important classes from which their officers really benefited.

While SB 527-FN, with the "FN" meaning it has a fiscal impact on the state budget, has not reached the governors desk, a compromise version is being considered by a legislative committee of conference that will hopefully hammer out the differences.

06-25 Bob Cormier

Tilton Police Chief Robert Cormier (second from right) receives a citation from N.H. Police Standards and Training Director Doug Vittum (far left). With him are Gilford Police Chief Anthony Bean Burpee and Laconia Police Chief Chris Adams. (Courtesy photo)

Laconia impact fees to be reviewed after revenues total only $72,354


LACONIA — Five years after introducing impact fees over the misgivings of property developers, the City Council will review the program when it meets on Monday night.

Impact fees are one-time charges levied on new development to fund either investment in municipal capital projects serving the development or to recoup past investment in expanded facilities that accommodate it. The city applies the proceeds from impact fees to the school district, police department, fire department, recreational facilities, streets and library.

The fee schedule represents a proportionate share of investment in additional capacity required to accommodate the different types of residential and commercial development. The fees themselves reflect a "reasonable" relationship between the amount of the fee and the demand on the facility or service. The city assesses the fees at 25 percent of their full rate The proceeds from impact fees must be spent within six years of being assessed and collected or otherwise refunded. For example, the fee for a townhouse is $3,663, which is divided among the schools, police, fire, recreation, roads and library, but the city assesses at 25 percent of the full rate, or $915.74.

In 2006, the City Council scuttled a proposal to appropriate $15,000 to hire a consultant to development an impact ordinance. But, several years later, with the economy in the doldrums, then Planning Director Shanna Saunders revived the proposal and for $20,000 a consultant was commissioned to prepare the ordinance and fee schedule.

Developers, struggling in the throes of the depressed property market, balked. Kevin Morrissette, a home builder, noted that no town in Belknap County imposed impact fees and warned that the additional cost would place Laconia at a competitive disadvantage. The late Gary Coyne said that because many properties in the city were either vacant or decrepit, there should be incentives, not disincentives to redevelopment.

With the recession sapping other revenues from sources other than property taxes, the City Council warmed to impact fees, despite the misgivings of developers. Saunders said that had the 1,198 residential units approved by the Planning Board between 2005 and 2011 not been exempted from impact fees, they would have brought in $2.6 million in revenue.

In fact, revenue from impact fees has fallen far short of such projections. Revenue was $1,440 in 2012, $552 in 2013, $12,250 in 2014, $45,350 in 2015 and $12,761 in 2016. The balance accrued after five years is $72,354.40. Discounting the initial $20,000 invested in fashioning the ordinance, the net return is $52,354.

Furthermore, the funds are dedicated to specific purposes. There is $21,303.29 for the schools, $6,503 for the police, $15,034 for fire, $4,975 for recreation, $21,818 for streets and $2,719 for the library.

In reviewing the program, the council could increase the assessment from 25 percent of the rate. For instance, the full rate is $7,630 per unit for a single-family detached home, $9,280 per unit for a duplex and $6,963 per unit for a multi-family building. Alternatively, the council may consider whether the revenues from impact fees outweigh the increase in the cost of housing they represent.