By ROGER AMSDEN, LACONIA DAILY SUN
GILFORD — The sponsor of a bill that would transfer power over the Gunstock Mountain Resort’s annual budget from the Gunstock Area Commission to the Belknap County Commission said a hearing on HB 1702 will go on as scheduled today.
Valerie Fraser (R-New Hampton) said she will testify for the bill when it comes before the Municipal and County Government Committee of the New Hampshire House at 1:30 p.m.
She said an attempt by the commission to have sponsors of the bill withdraw it as inexpedient to legislate before it even goes to a public hearing is contrary to House procedure.
“Every bill gets a hearing. It’s not fair that they asked us to do that,” said Fraser, who along with Rep. Ray Howard (R-Alton) and Rep. Joseph Plumer (R-Belmont) recently held negotiations with commissioners on a new memorandum of understanding on how much the county-owned recreation area will pay the county on an annual basis.
The commission approved a tentative agreement when it met last week that would see Gunstock pay $175,000 a year plus three percent of its net profits to Belknap County.
It also set conditions with regard to HB 1702, one of which required sponsors to have the bill withdrawn as inexpedient to legislate.
The commission also went on record last week as being opposed to House Bill 1702 in its present form and approved a statement that outlines its objections to the bill, which will be read into the record at today’s hearing if HB 1702 is referred to a committee.
The statement objects to the proposed shift in power and responsibility over Gunstock’s operations from the commission to the delegation.
Control of the Gunstock Mountain Resort’s annual budget currently is exercised by the commission, a five-member body established by legislation in 1959 as an independent political entity, empowered to manage Gunstock’s operations. Its members are appointed by the delegation.
Belknap County Commissioners have also expressed opposition to the bill. In a letter sent to the committee Monday commissioners said that the 1959 legislation has worked well and that transferring power over its budget to county legislators is not a good idea.