New budget

City Manager Scott Myers has unveiled a 2019-20 fiscal year expenditure plan that calls for a maximum amount to be raised by taxes of $46.17 million, compared to $44.74 million in the previous fiscal year.

The city’s tax cap allowed $1.4 million in growth, based on a 2.5 percent increase last year in the national Consumer Price Index-Urban and a $15 million value for new construction in the city.

Major expenditure components are $17.48 million for the city, $24.35 million for schools and $2.9 million for the county.

The city’s operating budget includes a capital outlay of $1.8 million, with the lion’s share — $1.33 million — to be used to fund general road repair and resurfacing projects throughout the city. Another $1.3 million will go to roads under a bonded capital outlay.

The biggest expenditure in the plan is $6.2 million for police, a 5.2 percent increase over the previous year, and $4.5 million for the fire department, a 0.8 percent increase over the prior year.

A $2.6 million expenditure is recommended for public works, a 0.7 percent increase over the previous year.

Copies of the budget book will be available on the city website — — and printed copies will be available at the Laconia Public Library and in the City Clerk’s Office.

In the coming weeks, department heads and Myers will present more detailed information regarding the various revenue and expenditure items before the City Council considers approving the budget.

They said it

“An article I read recently addressing these very issues suggested reverse diagonal parking. You have an angled parking space — this has kind of become a thing now — so you would drive past the space and back into it, so that when it comes time to leave, you don’t have to back out into the road, you just pull straight ahead. You look over your left shoulder for oncoming traffic and pull straight ahead. This is sort of an avant-garde new concept.” — Mayor Ed Engler before the City Council agreed on a 5-1 vote to create 32 new reverse-angle parking spaces on Beacon Street East and West to replace parallel parking spots. Councilor Henry Lipman was in opposition.

“It’s actually been around for a number of decades. The other safety thing when you think about it is if you open your doors on a reverse angle in parking, you are blocking kids from running into the street. If you are putting something into your hatchback or trunk from the sidewalk (you don't have to) walk around into a lane of traffic. Not a lot of communities have adopted it but the concept has certainly been around for decades.” — City Manager Scott Myers 

“I’m just fundamentally concerned, going on the east side you can go through the gut or you can come around the east side, but on the west side basically it’s going to block the road.” — Councilor Henry Lipman.

Facebook comment

“I hope they set up a webcam, this will be hilarious to watch, half the drivers out there have trouble driving straight ahead, grab your popcorn.” — Eric Grennell in one of dozens of Laconia Daily Sun Facebook comments overwhelmingly opposed to the idea of backing in to angled parking spots.

Nursing home

The Belknap County Commission has decided to privatize the kitchen staff operation at the county’s Nursing Home. Now Commissioner Hunter Taylor is suggesting a way to ease the pain for county workers considering going to work for the private company taking over that operation.

The workers have expressed frustration over losing the benefits they enjoy as government workers, including continued participation in the state retirement system and zero-premium health coverage.

In a letter to the editor, he is suggesting commissioners consider $500 payments to each worker who remains and goes to work for the contractor, Glendale Senior Dining, with an additional payment of $1,000 if they stay with Glendale for a year, plus $200 per month for the first 12 months of employment with Glendale.

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