Leavitt Park Clubhouse

Voters leave the Leavitt Park clubhouse after casting ballots in the Laconia municipal elections on Tuesday evening, Nov. 5. A contested mayoral race drove turnout higher than it has been in recent years. (Adam Drapcho/The Laconia Daily Sun photo)

LACONIA — A sports betting establishment would be permitted in the city under a ballot question approved by voters on Tuesday.

Question No. 1 on the ballot received 1,561 yes votes and 1,480 no votes.

The Legislature authorized up to 10 sports betting establishments to be located in the state at the option of local communities.

There has been no public effort to bring such an establishment to Laconia, but with the passage of the ballot question, this type of business could be permitted in the city.

A second question on the ballot was also approved.

Question No. 2, approved 2,069 to 833, allows municipalities to forgo holding a public hearing in order to accept unanticipated funds of less than $10,000 once the budget for a given fiscal year has been adopted.

Until now, every time the city wanted to accept even a small amount of money, it has had to go through the expense of advertising for and holding a public hearing at a City Council meeting.

In a letter to the editor, Mayor Ed Engler said the City Council recommended approval of the question. 

“I can assure you that in the six years I have been mayor, I don't recall a single taxpayer rising up to offer testimony on the advisability of accepting such a donation,” he wrote. “It is a waste of time and money.”

With passage of the question, the city manager will notify the council of unanticipated revenue and place it on a council agenda for an on-the-record vote, but there won’t be a public hearing.

Receiving unanticipated donations or grants of $10,000 or more will still require a public hearing.

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