To The Daily Sun,
According to a Daily Sun’s notice: “the (Laconia) Conservation Commission will be holding a public hearing at the next Planning Board meeting, on expenditure of conservation funds for purchase of property on Pickerel Pond Road in 2018.
The purpose of a public hearing is to obtain public testimony. In this instance, the Conservation Commission never held a public hearing regarding a proposal to purchase conservation land back in 2018. The purpose of this hearing is seeking forgiveness not to gather comments. It’s simply a joint meeting by two public bodies, an after the fact decision which is a done deed.
The City of Laconia, established a Conservation Commission; accordingly, it (CC) may appropriate money as deemed necessary. Money in the conservation fund may be expended from said fund by the Conservation Commission. The city treasurer shall have custody of all moneys in the conservation fund and shall pay out the same only upon order of the conservation commission. No recorded vote by the commission is recorded to purchase the Pickerel Pond Rd. property.
The disbursement of conservation funds shall be authorized by a majority of the Conservation Commission. Prior to the use of such funds for the purchase of any interest in real property the Conservation Commission shall hold a public hearing with notice. The intent of the Legislature is to allow Conservation Commissions to acquire land, in the name of the city, which becomes the owner of the property as a Conservation Commission may not "own" property.
The facts are the purchase of the two pickerel Pond parcels was initiated on August 13, 2018, during a “non-public City Council meeting,” which, then city Councilor Hosmer moved to authorize the city manager (no mention of the Conservation Commission) to negotiate a purchase of the parcels as presented in an amount up to $239,000.
Three buildings are listed as being on the two parcels. The public records documents the 409 Pickerel Pond Rd. parcel (with shed) sold on December 20, 2018 in the amount of $69,100. The 411 Pickerel Pond Rd. parcel also sold on December 20, 2018 for $207,700, a total of $276,800, $37,800 more than authorized, legal or not.
On December 18, 2018, a voucher was approved by the “fiscal officer and city manager in the amount of $238,272.42 for 409 and 411 Pickerel Pond Rd. Laconia.” Public records document the money for these land purchases regarding the Pickerel Pond purchases required transfer of funds which requires a city manager’s request to the City Council to transfer fund from and to the Conservation Commission’s account, which money was in the custody of the city treasurer.
The current so-called public hearing, which the general public has no knowledge of, is an attempt by appointed officials to cover-up the failures to comply with applicable laws; the former mayor admitted the city was not in compliance.
Thomas A. Tardif