Belmont police log Dec. 31, 2017 - Jan. 4, 2018

BELMONT — Police on Dec. 31 arrested Laurie J. MacLeod, 56, of 10 Range Road, Belmont, on a bench warrant from the Franklin District Court.

On Jan. 1, police charged Christopher A. Ladnay, 32, of 88 Parade Road, Meredith, with domestic assault.

On Jan. 4, police charged Joshua Cross, 24, of 4 Thurston Pond Road, Deerfield, with failure to yield to a traffic control device and driving with a suspended or revoked license.


Meredith selectmen try to keep town's tax rate level in 2018

MEREDITH — Selectmen gave preliminary support to a plan to keep next year’s tax rate stable by using $250,000 of the town’s unexpended fund balance to reduce taxation.
The total balance remaining at the end of 2017 was $750,000, so after using a portion of the funds to offset proposed increases in this year’s operating budget to keep the municipal tax rate at $5 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, the town still would have $500,000 in the fund to help out next year.
“That would leave the fund balance healthier by that amount, and in light of the projects coming down, it would bring down the interest rate by having a larger fund balance,” said Chairman Ray Moritz.
Voters will be asked for money to build a new public works building this March, but the town will not have any bond payments on that project until next year. Also next year, the town will be looking to move forward with an addition to the Meredith Public Library.
Town Manager Phil Warren said that, if the entire $750,000 fund balance were used to reduce taxation, it would result in an estimated tax rate of $4.90 per $1,000 of valuation.
Whatever decision the board made, Warren said, they would revisit the matter in the fall when it comes time to set the tax rate. By then, the town will have a better idea of what the actual tax rate will be, and adjustments can be made. He brought it up now, he said, to get out ahead of the discussion.
The proposed budget stands at $14,861,652 an increase of $87,300, or .6 percent, from the 2017 appropriation of $14,774,352.
After applying the projected revenue, the amount of money to be raised by taxation would be $9,923,194 if the town uses $250,000 from the unexpended fund balance to offset taxes.

Belmont spending for the new year unchallenged

BELMONT — A half-dozen people — most of them town employees — attended Tuesday night’s hearing on a proposed $7,593,919 operating budget that is 14 percent less than the 2017 appropriation.
With the additional special warrant articles, the budget would become $10,434,533, but anticipated revenues would reduce the amount to be raised by taxation to $5,530,635.
Town Administrator Jeanne Beaudin said the overall budget is down 1.53 percent from last year, with a reduction in health insurance costs being the biggest reason.
The budget committee made no changes to the selectmen’s recommendation, and there were no questions from the audience, so the committee adopted those figures to go before voters at the Feb. 3 deliberative session and a final vote on March 13.
If voters reject the budget article, the default operating budget that would take effect would be $7,776,458.
Warrant articles seeking appropriations include Article 13, asking for $950,000 for a new quint fire truck, providing the town gets a $700,000 grant toward the purchase. The remaining $250,000 would come out of the Fire/Ambulance Equipment and Apparatus Special Revenue Fund. Fire Chief Ken Erickson said the town will not know if the grant comes through until February, and if it fails to win the grant, the article would not be funded.
Deputy Chief Mike Newhall said “quint” refers to the five functions of the truck: a pumper, water tanker, hose-carrier, aerial and ground ladders rescue truck. Should the grant come through, the truck would replace an out-of-service rescue vehicle that is 20 years old and a 95-foot aerial truck that is 30 years old, he said.
Article 14 calls for the third-year payment on the lease-purchase of a pumper truck for the fire department.
A number of articles would place money into capital reserve and expendable trust funds. The largest appropriation would be $750,000 to be added to the Highway Reconstruction Capital Reserve Fund. Beaudin said the fund currently has about $280,000 after being drawn down to cover the completion of the Ladd Hill road project last year.
Other articles on the warrant include one to adopt the provisions of RSA 72:81, which encourages new construction by discounting 50 percent of the additional property valuation attributable to the improvements from town and school taxation for a period of up to six years.
Another article would discontinue the town’s ownership of a portion of Pond Road, allowing it to revert to the Sunray Shores Improvement Association, which would become responsible for the road’s maintenance. A similar article would discontinue a portion of Hackett Road, allowing it to become attached to land owned by Clive and Alison Roberts.
Another article asks voters to rescind the bonding authority for projects completed at a lower price than anticipated. Beaudin said the purpose is to clear the books from carrying the borrowing authority for those projects, which include $40,982 for the Pleasant Valley Roadway; $179,196 for sewer pump station replacement; $76,679 for Belmont Village water line replacement; and $14,939 for Belmont Village Phase II water line replacement.
Voters will be asked to authorize the spending of $65,000 from the Municipal Facilities Capital Reserve Fund for a space needs and feasibility study for the town. Donna Hepp, who has been leading the effort to improve town facilities, said the Town Building Strategy Committee has found it needs to hire a contractor to assess space needs and safety issues and determine what work is feasible to address the concerns.