Friday, November 28, 2014

Cable Franchise Ascertainment Hearing Thursday December 4th 7pm

"The Cable Television franchise agreement between Time Warner Cable Inc. and the Town of  Moultonborough is up for renewal in March of 2017. The Board of Selectmen, as statutory Issuing  Authority for the Town of Moultonborough will conduct a public ascertainment hearing, in accord
with Section 626 of the Federal Cable Communications Act, as amended:"

(SEC. 626. (a) During the 6-month period which begins with the 36th month before the franchise expiration, the franchising authority may on its own initiative, and shall at the request of the cable operator, commence proceedings which afford the public in the franchise area appropriate notice and participation for the purpose of—
``(1) identifying the future cable-related community needs and interests; and
``(2) reviewing the performance of the cable operator under the franchise during the then current franchise term.)
This an opportunity for the public to voice their opinions. Not that we have a lot of leverage,  but we want to negotiate as favorable an agreement as possible. The current agreement went into effect in 2001. 
After the ascertainment process the Town can submit a request for proposal (RFP) to Time Warner Cable (TWC) requesting Proposal for Renewal or  TWC may submit a proposal on its own. It is a fairly complicated process which is why we have engaged an attorney to represent the Town's interests and assure that we follow the law and fully understand our rights and responsibilities. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Town Budget Taking Shape

Still a ways to go yet, but the basic framework is in place. A page has been set up on the Town website with 2015 Town Meeting information and will be populated with more and more information as the weeks progress. Please note that the "Town Administrators Recommended Budget" is precisely that: recommended. Ultimately the Board of Selectmen after a thorough review of all the information as well as input from the ABC and CIPC , will make the call as to what we recommend for voters at Town Meeting.
Please also be aware that we have no control over petitioned "Special " warrant articles ( those that call for appropriations) which if approved are over and above our recommended budget.
The CIPC will meet again on December 4th at 10am to review an additional submission from the Department of Public Works and clarification and additional information on a previously submitted proposal.
BoS/ABC budget meetings will conitnue December 5th, 12th and 19th.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Filing period for all offices for Town and School Government January 21, 2015-January 30, 2015

Seems like a long way off,but its less than 2 months away. Ballot day this year is March 10th with Town/School District annual meetings the following Saturday, March 14th. 
There are two BoS seats up for election and one School Board seat.
By my unofficial count as I scanned the various boards on the town website there are:

Planning Board- 3 seats
Zoning Board   - 2 seats
Library Trustees - 2 seats
School District Moderator

Time then to start thinking about running for office. It is a big commitment, no question about it. The Land Use boards can be complex and there is a learning curve, but the most important asset needed is commitment to volunteer and do the best job you can. My time on the Planning Board required a fair amount of reading and research, but we only met twice a month ( sometimes less.) In my current role as a Selectman, the time commitment has increased enormously. We do meet just about every week as there is so much to cover and the reading and signing and meeting prep does require making time each and every week to get it done. All of us also are on numerous committees. Please give it some thought and try to attend some local meetings if you don't already to see if you have an interest and talk to current board members for more inside scoop on the workings of their particular board.
I know that some will complain about too many boards and committees, but the reality is that that is how towns work in New Hampshire. It can't happen without volunteers.

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