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Sanbornton voters side with BudCom in argument over raises for employees

SANBORNTON — After considerable discussion and some confusion, voters at annual town meeting Wednesday night passed a fiscal year 2014-2015 budget of #3,825,697

The amount reflects the Budget Committee's recommended operating budget of $3,817,075 plus $8,622 added by voters for the Sanborton Public Library.

The final operating budget was $58,410 less that the selectmen's recommended budget and doesn't include a 2 1/2 percent across the board raise for employees, an increase in the fire chief's salary, and $10,000 for an administrative assistant to the Public Works Department.

Speaking for the Budget Committee, Roger Grey said that its members felt that over the past 10 years the town had given adequate raises to its employees, that it hadn't implemented any pay cuts, nor had anyone been laid off.

He noted that last year all employees got 2 1/2 percent pay increases and this year the committee opted to hold the line and make an attempt to reduce or at least keep level the amount the town spends.

"All were trying to do is change the momentum of tax and spend," Gray said.

For the selectmen's part, Karen Ober made a blanket motion to restore the cuts to their budget made by the Budget Committee. It was seconded by outgoing selectman Guy Giunta.

She said town counsel had told the board it was easier to understand and cleaner than amending each line reduced by the Budget Committee.

Selectman Dave Nickerson said that while Ober and Giunta were giving the body the impression that the selectmen were unanimous about the blanket floor amendment, he was not in favor of it and would vote against it.

After a show of hands the amendment failed by 31 votes — with 62 voters supporting it and 93 of them voting against it.

The only other attempt to amend the budget was made by Andy Sanborn, who spoke in favor of adding the $10,000 for a part-time administrator to the DPW however his attempt to amend the budget failed on a voice vote.

Newly elected Town Clerk Tax Collector Marla Davis said she supported having her salary at the selectmen recommendation of $45,000 annually instead of the $40,000 that was former Town Clerk-Tax Collector Jane Goss's recommendation.

Goss said she made that recommendation because she wasn't part of the state retirement system nor did she take town insurance but she presumed (correctly) that her successor (Davis) would.

Davis never made her dissatisfaction with her salary into a motion so no action was taken.

In other business, the body voted overwhelmingly to return annual town meeting and town elections to March. For about five years, Sanbornton voters have voted for in May for town elections and in March for the Winnisquam Regional School Board elections.

Recently, said advocates of the petitioned warrant article, fewer and fewer Sanbornton residents have been voting at the March school district meetings and some feel the town — already the smallest of the three contributing communities — was not making its voice heard on the school front, where voting is done in March.

Town Administrator Bob Veloski said Sanbornton will continue to budget for a fiscal year running from July 1 to June 30.

Last Updated on Friday, 16 May 2014 12:56

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Adam Batstone named LPD Officer of the Year

LACONIA — Police Commissioners named Patrol Officer Adam Batstone as their officer of the year yesterday in their annual meeting set aside for recognizing outstanding employees.

Batstone joined the Police Department in 2008 after getting a degree from Plymouth State University in Criminal Justice. In that time he has become a field training officer, a Taser instructor, and an active shooter instructor.

Batstone is a member of the department's Motorcycle Division — a job in which Police Chief Chris Adams says he takes great pride — and is also the fleet maintenance officer who keeps track of all the vehicles operated by the department.

"Officer Batstone is an outstanding officer who upholds the mission and core values of this agency," said Adams.

The Honorable Service Award went to Lt. Alfred Lessard who runs the training department and keeps the department up-to-date on policies consistent with an accredited police department.

Lessard also volunteers with Stand Up Laconia and was one of the early promoters of the annual Chem Free night that keeps many local prom goers from attending private parties after prom where they could be exposed to alcohol and/or drugs.

The Distinguished Unit Action Award went to the Capt. William Clary, Det. Sgt. Thomas Swett, Det. Kevin Butler, Det. Chris R.A. Noyes, Det. Jeff Wholley, Det, Daniel Carsen, Det, Peter C.A. Horan and Master Patrol Officer Steve Orton for putting together a drug bust that netted one of what Adams said was a major drug dealer in Laconia.

Roger Perkins, 21, who has addresses in both Laconia and Methuen, Mass. was arrested on Gale Avenue in March. During the raid, police said they seized two ounces of cocaine, two guns, a car, some cash, as well as a significant amount of other drugs and paraphernalia.

Detective Chris R.A. Noyes earned two meritorious service awards — one for his continued work in narcotics within the department and one shared with Det. Kevin Butler for their work in investigations and interrogations. Butler is the department's certified polygraph operator and Adams said he has been able to help arrest and convict an number of guilty people as well as exonerate those who are innocent.

Master Patrol Office John Howe also earned a meritorious service award from maintaining all of the department's radar equipment by keeping them calibrated according to fleet standards.

School Resource and Master Patrol Officer Steven Orton was given a letter of commendation for helping police solve the burglary and vandalizing of the Boys and Girls Club in December of 2013.

Orton was able to get information from one of his students that led to the arrest of the three juveniles who were responsible for the damage to the Boys and Girl Club as well as four other unsolved crimes.

Commissioners also recognized Laconia High School students Carly DeNauw and and Savanah Bastis for their work in organizing and raising money for this year's Chem Free party. The Laconia Police Department donated $1,000 to Chem Free to help promote the event.

After tonight's prom, Deauw said about 60 students will go to Funspot and then the movies at the Gilford Cinema. After the movies they will be taken by bus to the High School where they're parents will take them home.

The Commission also recognized a number of employees for time in service. Those with 15 years or more of time are Administrative Assistant Deborah Simkins and Administrative Assistant Tammy Ouellette with 35 years of service; Evidence Technician Michael Moyer with 30 years; Sgt. Gary Hubbard with 25 years; Chief Christopher Adams with 20 years; Commission Chair Warren Clement, Det. Sgt. Thomas Swett, Sgt. Michael Finogle, Det. Jeff Wholley, Master Patrol Officer Steven Orton, Officer Donald W. Kimtis Jr. and Dispatcher Marnell Delorenzo with 15 years each.

Last Updated on Friday, 16 May 2014 12:47

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3 toddlers sent to hospital after Messer St. crash

LACONIA — Three children were taken Thursday by ambulance to Lakes Region General Hospital for precautionary reasons after the car they were in was in a head-on collision on Messer Street.

Capt. Matt Canfield said all of the children were in a Toyota Minivan and all of them were in properly installed child or baby seats when the collision happened.

He said it appears the driver of a white Chevy was headed toward Oak Street from Lakeport when he dropped his glasses and crossed into the oncoming lane striking the Toyota.

Canfield said there were four children in a minivan aged 2, 3, 5 and an infant. He said the van was being driven by the children's grandmother.

When asked if charges were going to be filed against the driver of the while Chevy, Canfield said the crash was still being investigated.

CUTLINE: (Messer St. Accident 002.jpg) Police investigate a two-car crash yesterday afternoon on Messer Street. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Gail Ober)

Last Updated on Friday, 16 May 2014 12:39

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Leavitt Park group pushing city to rebuild tennis courts

LACONIA — As the City Council contemplates the 2014-2015 municipal budget, Tony Felch, president of the Leavitt Park Association, has mounted a petition calling for an appropriation to rebuild the two tennis courts at the park, which he described as "non-useable and unrepairable."

The playing surface of both courts is riven with cracks, which in places are nearly three inches wide and more than an inch deep, overgrown with vegetation.

Kevin Dunleavy, director of parks and recreation, said that concern for the safety of those playing on the courts led to their closure last year.

In 2013, the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) Committee ranked restoration of the tennis courts both at both Leavitt Park and Memorial Park at a cost of $52,000 37th among its priorities. The council accepted the recommendation of City Manager Scott Myers not to fund the request. This year Myers has recommended resurfacing and relining the five courts at Memorial Park at a cost of $25,000, which the CIP Committee ranked 30th, but not reconstruction of the courts at Leavitt Park, which ranked 33rd.

Dunleavy said that the courts at Leavitt Park require total rebuilding, which includes removing and replacing the fencing, reclaiming the playing surface to its gravel base, laying and lining a new playing surface, all of which he estimated would cost about $75,000.

Felch said that the Leavitt Park Association has offered to contribute $6,000 toward the project, along with an equal amount drawn from the Leavitt Park Trust Fund, with the approval of the Trustees of the Trust Funds. At the same time, he intends to approach local businesses that have contributed to other civic projects in the recent past.

Dunleavy said that the popularity of tennis appears to have declined in recent years, noting that Laconia High School has enough players to field a girls' but not a boys' team this spring. However, he added that he was recently contacted by a representative of the Lakes Region Tennis Association, which has relationships with several parks and recreation departments in the area, about he prospect of offering free lessons in the city parks.

Last Updated on Friday, 16 May 2014 12:31

Hits: 221

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