December 26, 2012BERLIN — County treasurer Fred King of Colebrook updated the county commissioners on the status of the Coös economic impact study of new federal land acquisition at their Wednesday, Dec. 19 meeting.
King reported very six reputable firms had submitted responses to the Requests for Proposals issued by the North Country Council. No contract can be signed, however, until the county budget is set in March 2013, likely on March 9.
The project costs listed by the six consulting firms ranged from $27,500 to $50,000.
King also said that he had submitted a 37-page document to the commissioners in which he reviewed the study's history and genesis.
In response to King's request the two commissioners on hand — vice chairman Paul Grenier of Berlin and Tom Brady of Jefferson — authorized the county treasurer to seek funds to pay for the study.
King said he had appointments in January with representatives of Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and Sen. Kelly Ayotte.
The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service has asked to have input into selecting the consulting firm since its officials have agreed to partially fund the study, but, King said, he believes that would be inappropriate. "There are no partners in this study," he said, adding that the Refuge whose proposed expansion sparked the study would have ample time to provide data and other information.
The study is to determine whether or not it is good or bad for Coös County to have more and more land acquired by the federal government, King said. "That's the question that must be answered," he explained. Now, one out of every two acres in Coös in a regional economy that is both forest- and tourism-based is under some form of federal ownership.
"We need to look at this issue in a fair and unbiased way — out in the open," King concluded.