Saturday, November 22, 2014

UNH Recreation Feasibility Study Expected Soon

To date, we do not have a firm date when the UNH study will be presented to the Town team. I asked Town Administrator Carter Terenzini last Friday after the budget meeting if he had heard anything yet as to when it may be forthcoming and he had not. It was expected around Thanksgiving so I presume we will have a presentation in the next few weeks.
Once the report is presented to the Town team it will be presented to the full BoS.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Let there be light(s)..and water

A few tidbits from last nights BoS meeting.
Turns out that the electricity in the town owned Adele Taylor property is on after all so the Christmas tree lighting planned for Saturday December 6th will have a power source for the lights.
The water at town hall is now safe to drink. The recent water tests came back within acceptable limits per NH safe drinking water standards. Good news.
Now if we can only figure out what that noise was we heard periodically last night that sounded like pipes banging or a bird in the town hall attic.
There is still time for you to complete a Village Vision survey. If you did not receive one in the mail, you can pick one up at town hall. To date there have been about 1,000 completed. To that end, it was decided by consensus ( I was the lone dissenter) to use the Code Red Alert system in the near future to remind citizens to complete a survey. ( I am not against alerting citizens about the survey, but I am not in favor of using this means to alert them. We need to do a better job using the many forms of social media available that would be better suited for this purpose).

Thursday, November 20, 2014

2014 Tax Rate Set (Tentatively) at $8.86

This represents an increase of 1.7% and includes $540,000 from the general fund balance ( the same amount expended in 2013) plus $300,000 approved at 2014 Town Meeting for Article 7 the Adele Taylor Property ($275,000) and Article 16 for States Landing ($25,000) to offset the 2014 tax rate.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Lakes Region Planning Commission Executive Committee November 12th 2014

The most relevant portion of this video begins at about 5 minutes in with a discussion of a letter our BoS sent to the LRPC requesting a more equitable apportionment of member fees from the heavy reliance on property valuation to a more common formula used by most of the regional planning commissions of population. Our argument is that using a formula of property valuation causes us to subsidize just about all the other 29 member towns that are members of the LRPC. Of interest to me in watching this video is that the chair of the executive board, Warren Hutchins who represents Laconia ( population 15, 951 per 2010 census) was strongly opposed to our request as his city would have to pay more ( about $3,000) annually.  In addition, 20 of the 30 member communities would see there fees increase. He suggested that if we want to make a formal request we do so to the full commission and at a meeting when there is a large turnout of member communities. Hard to imagine that those other communities would vote willingly to be weaned off of our subsidy. The cash cow scenario is alive and well.
A clarification is in order here. I did on behalf of the BoS bring the request to the full commission back in September and was advised then that the issue would be taken up by the executive committee. That same commissioner now believes it should be taken up by the full commission.
The end result is that we can expect a letter advising us that the executive committee rejected our proposal for a more equitable member fee formula and offered to once again come and speak to us.
The choices then are that we continue to pay the full fee of approximately $10,000 or withdraw from the LRPC as a full members and become associate members that do not pay fees , but have no vote at the table.  The LRPC is holding the " we will no longer represent you" card over our heads, but we are holding one over there heads as well: if we withdraw, they lose not only the full $10,000 fee , but they also face a public relations  issue as the premier town in the lakes region may no longer be a member of the club.
I suspect that there will be a lot of discussion on this matter in the coming months. The LRPC made a number of valid arguments for their position and I look forward to hearing all sides of the argument.


Monday, November 17, 2014

Peterborough NH to Construct States Largest Solar Panel Array

At approximately 944 kilowatts, it is slightly smaller than the 1 megawatt array that he NHEC is pitching to the town for the old landfill.  In Peterborough's case, the town is installing the system with a sizeable grant and will further offset the towns annual energy costs to the tune of  $25K . Overall, there will be no upfront cost to the town.

Here is the text of the story that can be found  on WMUR.

The Hillsborough County town of Peterborough will break ground Monday on what will be the largest solar power system in the state.
The 944-kilowatt installation will be built on nearly five acres of former waste water lagoons at the site of the town's wastewater treatment plant.
The town received a $1.2 million grant from the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission and will further offset the cost through a 20-year power purchase agreement with a subsidiary of Borrego Solar Systems - developer of the project.
The grant and power purchase agreement are enabling the town to install the system with at no up-front cost.
Electricity from the installation will power the waste water treatment plant and other town facilities.
Peterborough officials say they expect to save up to $25,000 a year in energy costs.
"By collaborating with Borrego Solar and seeking support from the state, we as a community were able to afford to go solar, preparing us for a more financially sustainable energy future," said Rodney Bartlett, Peterborough's director of public works.
Once completed, the Peterborough solar installation will be nearly twice the size of the next largest solar project in the state - a 500-kiliwatt system atop the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport parking garage.
Construction is expected to be done by the spring of 2015

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Friday, November 14, 2014

Countdown to 2015 Town Meeting

As we begin the run up to the March 10th 2015 Town Meeting, budget discussions and decisions will start to be made. The first of the budget meetings with all department heads will occur next Friday, November 21st and pick up again December 5th.
With a March 10th Town Meeting, the last day to submit petitioned warrant articles is February 3rd 2015 as noted below in this document from the NH DRA.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Board of Selectmen to Meet in Work Session Thursday Evening and Friday Morning

The BoS will meet tomorrow evening (Thursday) at 7pm in a work session primarily to review with the CIPC committee  its report and recommendations for the six year capital plan for 2015-2020. The plan was presented to the BoS by CIPC chair Jordan Prouty back in September and the BoS are obligated to respond to the CIPC within 90 days as to whether it accepts the report in whole or part and what it shall submit as funding requests for the coming fiscal year. The CIPC report can be found here.

On Friday November 14th, the BoS will reconvene at 08:30 to continue and hopefully finalize the remaining  town job descriptions we began reviewing last month.