December 28, 2012BARNSTEAD — During 2012, Barnstead went several months with only four members on its board of selectmen, and the town dealt with several issues later in the year, some involving repairs to the infrastructure in town including plumbing and heating issues, and the town turned down the regionalization of the police department to Belknap County in March.
During a board of selectmen meeting in late January, the selectmen approved releasing an ambulance as a town asset. The board discussed creating a replacement schedule for some of the fire department's equipment.
Later in the month, County Sheriff Craig Wiggin met wit the board of selectmen to talk about the possible regionalization of the police department.
In late February, a public meeting was held to discuss the possible regionalization of the town police department. Members of the board of selectmen, the regionalization committee, members of the public and members of the Belknap County Sheriff's Department attended the meeting and asked questions about the plan.
During the March election, James Barnard defeated incumbent Kathy Grillo and earned a position on the board of selectmen. Keith Couch, who later resigned to become a school member once again, and Bruce Grey were elected to the budget committee. Elaine Swinford was re-elected to her position as Overseer of Public Welfare.
On the town ballot, increasing the number of alternate members on the ZBA was approved, redefining variances was approved, and the definition of "commercial towers" was approved, but the question involving temporary trailer hook-ups failed.
During the town meeting, 30 articles were discussed and voted on. The article getting much attention and discussion was the one involving regionalization of the police department, but that article failed to garner enough votes to pass.
Other articles involving the budget of the town, different capital reserve funds and funding the police and fire department passed without much discussion.
At the end of the month, the opening of the Senior Fun Stop, located next to Bosco Bell was celebrated with an open house. The center is a spot where seniors can hang out, socialize, play cards and have fun.
The board of selectmen was presented with several fire code violations at the Senior Fun Stop that were brought up by Fire Chief Mark Tetreault. The chief said these violations would need to be addressed to bring the building up to code for public assembly.
The board discussed designating the Suncook River for special protection in New Hampshire. A meeting was held later in the year, and after input from the planning board and board of selectmen, the decision was made not to move forward with the designation.
Meetings began regarding updating the Master Plan in town. A survey regarding the plan has been worked on for several months, and the survey should be sent out to residents sometime after the new year begins.
Selectmen Bob LaRoche resigned from his position on the board of selectmen in July, but the board didn't find a replacement to fill his position, Paul Vince, until later in the year.
Issues regarding the well system involving the town hall, the library and the Center Barnstead Christian Church were discussed during a board meeting.
The board continued to discuss the issues regarding the well system in August, and concerns were brought forward about routinely performing water tests and checking the wells in town.
The board continued to address the problems with the well system in the fall, and attempts were made to find the leak and fix the system without digging it up.
Doug Darrell was found innocent on charges of cultivating marijuana after a jury in Laconia District Court found him not guilty. The jury found him innocent on jury nullification, meaning they believed that punishing him for the charge would be unjust.
During the board meeting at the beginning of the month, Vince was appointed to fill the vacant seat on the board of selectmen left by the resignation of LaRoche back in July. Vince will fill the seat until the position expires in March 2013.
The board of selectmen spent several weeks trying to deal with a leak in the plumbing system between the town hall, the library and the Center Barnstead Christian Church. Ultimately, the board decided that the best and probably the only option would be for the church to install a new septic system.
During a board meeting, the selectmen considered a proposal to purchase the Pinkham property to store historical material and be used for town office space, but after taking a closer look at the building it was found that the cost to maintain the building as offices would be too high.
During a meeting, the board of selectmen talked about the HVAC system in the library, and they made the decision to shut off the water system that had been troubling the town for months.
Tim Croes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 569-3126