County supports Gunstock — With Silber dissenting, Delegation agrees to revenue anticipation note

By THOMAS P. CALDWELL

LACONIA DAILY SUN

LACONIA — Following a public hearing Monday night, the Belknap County Delegation agreed to issue a revenue anticipation note that would cover the operational costs for Gunstock Mountain Resort during the 2017-18 ski season, with Gunstock repaying the money from its winter revenues by April 1, 2018.

Prior to the hearing, the Gunstock Area Commission met to approve an extension of a separate memorandum of understanding that would provide a one-time payment of $175,000 to the county, after which the commission and delegation would continue negotiations on a longer-term agreement that would address the concerns some county representatives had raised.

Gunstock Commission Chairman Sean Sullivan announced the one-year agreement at the start of the hearing before the delegation, and Delegation Vice-Chairman Raymond Howard (R-Alton) moved to accept the document.

Rep. Norman Silber (R-Gilford) stated his opposition to the request and questioned Sullivan and Gunstock General Manager Greg Goddard about the resort’s cash position. He maintained there was no statutory authority for such a memorandum of understanding, saying instead Gunstock’s enabling legislation required a payment far in excess of the $175,000.

According to Silber, the 50-year-old statute requires Gunstock to turn over to the county any accumulated revenue greater than 25 percent of any profits remaining after meeting obligations "if required by the County Delegation."

"Any calculation of the true value would be vastly in excess of $175,000," he stated, adding, "I object to taking any vote on the MOU because it’s not required under the statute, and the commissioners are not acting in good faith."

He received no support for his position, and the delegation agreed to the MOU with Silber casting the only dissenting vote.

Silber then fulfilled an earlier promise and called for the entire Gunstock Area Commission to resign "for failure to observe the statutes" — but his motion had no second and was dismissed.

Goddard then presented the request for money in anticipation of revenues, which he described as being similar to a line of credit for a business. Because most of Gunstock’s expenses occur ahead of the winter ski season, cash flow becomes a problem during the fall, particularly in October and November, and the note allows the ski area to borrow the operating capital it needs.

The County Delegation must approve of the revenue anticipation note in order for Gunstock to approach the bond bank to obtain the loan. The ski area then would repay the loan from winter proceeds. Seventy percent of Gunstock’s revenues come during the winter ski season, Goddard said.

With Silber’s single negative vote, the delegation approved the revenue anticipation note.