"Real liberty is neither found in despotism or the extremes of democracy, but in moderate governments.
Alexander Hamilton

Saturday, February 24, 2018

The New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies to Close in Two Months

This little article was in today's Laconia Daily Sun. The NH Center for Public Policy Studies "is an independent, nonpartisan organization that pursues data-based research on public policy matters, develops options, informs policy makers and advises them about choices for action. The Center’s mission is to raise new ideas and improve policy debates through quality information and analysis on issues shaping New Hampshire’s future. As a private sector "think tank," the Center is committed to quality research and thorough communication."
I found it a good go to website for data on many different issues and all of if free of charge and open to anyone who wanted to access it. Sad to see it go.

Policy research center to disband 

An independent, nonpartisan organization in New Hampshire that pursued research on public school funding, the health of the state retirement system, and the pros and cons of casinos said Friday it’s disbanding after more than two decades due to a lack of money. The New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies said it will wind down its operations over the next two months and find a home for its research archive. “Reliable, unbiased information and analysis is essential for shaping good public policy,” said Donna Sytek, a longtime center board member and Republican former Speaker of the House. “The closing of the Center is a loss of a trusted, neutral resource — not only for policymakers, but for all of us who care about making good decisions for New Hampshire.” Eric Herr, board chairman, said the state is small, “and we’ve been unable to expand the pool of donors who are willing and able to support our work going forward.” Initial research projects focused on New Hampshire public school funding, the state budget process, the flow of federal funds to the state, and the implementation of a new form of local governance known as “Senate Bill 2.” The center also researched such subjects as state corrections system effectiveness, Medicaid expansion and the aging of the state’s population.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Carroll County Shutdown Looming?

According to this story in the Conway Daily Sun, the Carroll County Commissioners need the approval of the County Delegation , the 15 elected NH House reps for Carroll County, before they can spend any money. Basically the delegation needs to give the county permission to spend money from January through March 2018. Without it, the Commissioners cannot even sign payroll checks.
There is no word in the article as to when the County Delegation is planning to meet to resolve what should be a very a simple matter and avoid possible disruption of county services and non payment to employees of earned wages. 

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the Town Budget

It's all right here on the Town website. Lots and lots of data, pretty much what the BoS receive in their annual budget binder in the fall and also includes the ABC reports for the Town, Library and School District. Enjoy and thanks to our Town staff for putting all this out there well before Town Meeting.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Please Don’t Vote For Me For Selectman! Please Do Write My Name- Paul Punturieri- in For Town Moderator.

That might sound a little strange at first glance, but there is a rationale:  I have decided to throw my name in for Town Moderator as a write- in candidate. In that role I do ask for your support and to write my name in on the blank line. 

Town Moderator and Selectman are incompatible offices so one person cannot hold both at the same time.

It was not an easy decision to make, but there is a need due to the well-deserved retirement of Harry Blood, our current Moderator, for a successor. It is an important role that many see as just running Town Meeting. I have been told that Town Meeting is the easy part. The other things that need to happen to make the local, state and federal elections successful are not quite as glamorous and not so easy. There is a lot to learn, but I am up for it and look forward to the challenge.

I also look forward to your support as a write-in candidate for Town Moderator on Tuesday March 13th.
Thank you.
Paul Punturieri

Monday, February 19, 2018

Order of Names on Town Election Ballots

I was asked about the Town Ballot and why candidates are not just listed alphabetically by name.
The candidate order per the NH Secretary of State is updated every two years with a number drawn for which candidate goes first on the ballot. For example, for 2016 -2018 for the only contested race on the ballot ( Selectman) and with three candidates, it goes as follows:

  • Candidates are listed alphabetically by last name.
    • Jean Beadle
    • Paul Punturieri
    • Kevin Quinlan
  • The number drawn for the start of the rotation of names for the 2016-2018 cycle for three candidates is number 3.
  • The third candidate is then listed first, the rest alphabetically:
    • Kevin Quinlan
    • Jean Beadle
    • Paul Punturieri

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Moultonboro School Budget: Significant Decrease for 2018-19

The proposed budget can be found at this link on the School District website.
The total estimated appropriations are down by $471,008 or 3.64%.  The impact to the combined school tax rate is estimated to decrease by  23.5 cents.
On the revenue side, kindergarten aid previously $0 is estimated to be $29,500. The District will no longer receive building aid as the construction bond was paid off this past fiscal year. That is estimated to reduce revenue by $302,849. 

Friday, February 16, 2018

Nice Mention in the Meredith News.

It was a nice surprise to see my name mentioned in a positive manner in this weeks Meredith News. It is all about serving your community. Towns cannot function without citizen volunteers.
Ballot day is just a little more than three weeks away on March 13th.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Rotary Lift Purchase Approved By BoS 4 Yes to 1 Abstention

This purchase has been discussed a few times by the BoS and it was a bit contentious as this capital purchase of $61K  is being completed without Town Meeting approval. The funds are being allocated from the 2017 operating budget which was not expended. I have written in disagreement with this purchase without first getting voter approval and I suspect by his abstention on this vote, so does Selectman Joel Mudgett.
My concern remains that despite Town Counsel's legal okay, we shouldn't pick and choose large capital purchases that voters get to vote on. They should be able to vote on all of them.
In addition, I am not convinced that approving this spending ( hence the abstention?) may run afoul of the Municipal Budget Act. Per the NH Municipal Association:
"An official or employee who overspends the budget improperly runs the risk of being dismissed. Blake v. Pittsfield, 124 N.H. 555 (1984). In addition, an official who violates any part of the Municipal Budget Law (RSA Chapter 32) may be subject to removal by petition to the superior court. RSA 32:12.....the selectmen cannot create new purposes and transfer funds into them; they must work within the purposes the budget already contains"

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Planning Board Asks Lake Kanasatka Watershed Association to Provide New Information On Tamarack Subdivision

The Planning Board heard from a number of Lake Kanasatka residents tonight about the development just across from the BP Gas Station on Whittier Highway. Specifically, resident Kevin Kelly send a letter to the Planning Board and wanted to address his concerns with what he believes are violations of the approved site plan.
Per Mr. Kelly, he met with the Town Planner and Town Administrator in October,  2017 and was given incorrect information. There is a thirty day window to appeal the Planning Board decision to the NH Superior court and request a rehearing. At that meeting in October, Mr. Kelly was told that the clock had not yet begun and had plenty of time to appeal and the clock would not start until all conditions of the site plan approval were met. In a letter he received in November from the Town, he was told that the window had closed and he could no longer appeal the decision. Mr. Kelly thought this was unfair.
Town Planner Robert Ward stated that this was an unfortunate situation and that based on what the Town had told Mr. Kelly in October the Planning Board should apply some flexibility. He explained that Town Counsel indicated that there is a NH Supreme Court case which amounts to allowing for a rehearing by the Planning Board if it wishes to have a rehearing on a previously approved action by the Board. It is not limited by the thirty-day window. This would be dependent upon the petitioner demonstrating a technical error by the Planning Board or new evidence not available at the time of the original hearing.
According to the October 11th, 2017 Planning Board meeting minutes  when the board denied a rehearing request, "What Mr. Kelly and his watershed group are asking for is: 1) A closer look at the stormwater management plan; 2) To possibly consider a third-party review of their stormwater management plan; 3) On-site stormwater management taking into concerns for erosion and possible sedimentation into the Lake."
Tonight, some of these issues were addressed. The Town has engaged Town Engineer KV Partners KV Partners for onsite oversite and compliance checking. They have been in touch with developers engineers for a copy of all plans, permits, and approvals. An onsite inspection meeting is scheduled for tomorrow  February 15th at 1:30pm. Mr. Kelly asked if he could attend and the Town Planner will contact the developer for permission as it is private property.
The Planning Board asked a number of times that if there is additional information from the Lake Kanasatka Watershed Association, then please submit it and the Board will evaluate it. Mr. Kelly advised that they did hire someone to perform a review of the stormwater management plan and it came to a different conclusion.
In the end, it is clear that the Planning Board had acted last year based on the information available at the time and in fairness to the landowner, developer, and public. To assure that all is being done correctly, the Town has engaged the Town Engineer to assure compliance and to make certain that the one thing all parties agree upon will occur: protect Lake Kanasatka.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Moultonboro Community Development Advisory Committee Off and Running

The Community Development Advisory Committee (CDAC) was formed recently by the BoS with the following charge:

Provide input and advice on matters relating to the Town's community development and to develop and recommend strategies to the Select Board that will promote the Town's development of business, housing, community facilities and infrastructure.  Inventory businesses seeking ways the Town can support and encourage existing businesses to grow and recommend strategies to attract new economic and residential activity.  Inventory available properties and opportunities for community development and develop recommendations on how to promote those properties and employment and house opportunities.
Support Moultonborough's community brand and help strengthen Moultonborough's identity as a wonderful community to live, work and play in the region and state.
The committee is comprised of community members Charlie Fritz, Cody Gray, Kevin Keyes, Richard Kumpf, Chris Maroun and John Temple. 
They have now met twice, the most recent on February 8th. At that meeting, the CDAC added some additional goals:
 1) To bring new commercial development to Moultonborough either by entry of new businesses or expansion of existing businesses,
2) To support the development of a variety of housing types at affordable prices,
3) To support the development of community facilities which will enhance the quality of life thereby making Moultonborough a more attractive place to live or to operate a business. An objective of enhanced community facilities is to provide for greater social contact (this goal would include such community facilities as a community center, sidewalks in the village, and a village green as a public space for community activities),
4) To conduct an inventory of the businesses & services existing in Moultonborough as well as to develop an inventory of properties where new businesses might locate, and
5) To conduct an assessment of Moultonborough’s land use regulations to identify regulations which are an impediment to location or expansion of commercial uses.

Off and running and in coordination with the efforts of the BoS, School Board and Planning Board, a good foundation is being built to support Moultonboro's future growth and development.