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Road conditions, fire station on the docket for selectmen

by Tim Croes
Staff Writer - The Baysider
January 09, 2013
ALTON — The Alton Board of Selectmen tackled several issues including a pair of appointments during the its meeting on Monday, Jan. 7.

Russell Wilder came before the board and voiced concerns about Woodlands Road and its current condition. Wilder said that there are drainage issues, ice issues and wanted to make sure that the selectmen are aware of the condition of the road.

Chairman Dave Hussey said that road would be added to list of roads in town that are in need of maintenance and that the highway department would be taking a look at the condition of the road.

Dorothye Wentworth came before the board and requested that Alton Community Services, which operates the local food pantry, needs additional space. Wentworth explained that the program has been running for 15 years and that they are running out of space.

She suggested that before the town goes through with the renovation to senior and community center on Pearson Road that they consider adding additional space for the food pantry.

Wentworth requested a 10-foot by 12-foot area for storage, a 21-foot by 12-foot area for the pantry and 7.5-foot by 9.5-foot area for office space.

Member Peter Bolster questioned why this suggestion was coming so late and talked about several years ago when Wentworth was invited to be part of the senior center committee.

Hussey thanked Wentworth for her suggestions and said the selectmen would look at the options for adding more space for the food pantry.

Hussey addressed some concerns that he has heard recently about the West Alton Fire Station. He wanted to assure people that the selectmen are looking to maintain the building and continue to use it as the West Alton Fire Station.

"We as selectmen have had no vote or no decision on shutting down the West Alton Fire Station. It was suggested by the fire chief, but we have made no move in that direction."

Hussey talked about the upgrades that have been recently completed at the fire station, including a new roof and a new set of stairs. Hussey said the lease with the building, which only cost $1 a year, is up in 2014, and that the town should continue to maintain the building.

Vice-chair Loring Carr said that three years ago the building wasn't in very good shape, but many improvements have been made and he gave credit to members of the fire department that have put in time repairing the station.

The board approved a request by the Mount Major Snowmobile Club to use part of the right of way on Rand Hill Road and granted the club an easement. The club will provide signs for snowmobiles on the right of way, indicating which direction to go and posting snowmobile speed limits.

Selectman Marc DeCoff talked about one of the warrant articles that didn't gather support from the budget committee. The article is asking for $40,000 for a new police cruiser, which includes $4,000 for a video/audio recording system.

The budget committee is against adding the system to cost of the police vehicle and is only supporting the original $36,000 for a new vehicle.

Member Cydney Johnson pointed out that this kind of hardware will be standard in the years to come for front-line vehicles.

Town Administrator Russ Bailey reported that the federal social security percentage taken from paychecks recently jumped back up to 6.2 percent. This will result in overall reduction in pay for employees by two percent because of rise in social security.

Bailey announced that the final check for reimbursement came in for the Places Mill Bridge came in, totaling $213,893.38. This number represents 80 percent of the total project cost paid by the State of New Hampshire.

The board reviewed the plans for the Phase II renovation for the senior center and Bolster pointed out that with the money in hand, the addition to the kitchen will be funded and the construction but not the finishing of the 36-foot by 36-foot addition can start.

The board approved allowing Kingswood students to build a 24-foot by 24-foot prefabricated addition that will be added to kitchen. This addition will be constructed during the winter months and will be installed sometime in the spring.

Bailey reported that the roof for the construction and demolition area at the transfer station is nearly complete.

The board briefly discussed a request for paving Sunset Shores, and agreed that quotes would be obtained and that project could be completed in the future if the highway department has the time.

The board reviewed the more than 40 warrant articles that will be placed on the ballot in March.

Hussey wanted to point out that Warrant Article 22 takes $50,00 from the fund balance and raises an additional $50,000 to help build up a capital reserve for replacing Engine #5, which will need to be replaced in the near future.

The board approved closing out the Bay Hill Road drainage project and releasing the $2,000 held for the project.

The board approved several items recommended by the town assessor, approved an application for a special event for the Big Lake Half Marathon and approved the Winter Carnival proposed by the Alton Business Association for Feb. 17.

Hussey and the board talked about establishing blasting requirements. The board agreed that some standards need to be set and agreed to tackle this issue during an upcoming workshop session.

The board approved a bid by Generator Connection to service the town's five generators.

The board also approved the elderly housing development on Spruce Terrace to pay only the town side of their tax bill for 2013. This is a practice that has been done in the past, where members of the development don't pay the school side of the tax bill.

The board agreed to look into grants that could help pay for Emergency Management issues in town

Tom Varney came before the board and spoke about a septic waiver for 66 and 68 Spring St. He explained that two old systems would be replaced by a new system that would support six bedrooms, with two on one lot and four on another.

The waivers included the distance between the leech field to the well, the distance from the tank to the pump chamber to the well, the distance from the tank to the existing houses, the distance from the pump chamber to the house and from leech field to the property line.

Hussey said he would rather not see a six-bedroom system on such a small lot, but the board approved all the above waivers and approved the new septic system.

The next scheduled meeting of Alton Board of Selectmen is on Monday, Jan. 21, at 6 p.m., at the Alton Town Hall.

Tim Croes can be reached at tcroes@salmonpress.com or 569-3126

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