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County commissioners divvy up unspent Food Pantry funds

December 30, 2013
BERLIN — None of the $5,000 in the 2013 Cos County budget to support food pantries had been spent when the commissioners met at noon on Dec. 18 for a special meeting at the Cos County Nursing Home on Cates Hill.

The trio thought they had spent at least some of the monies to buy potatoes and other vegetables from the Grafton County Farm in North Haverhill, but it turned out that the board of commissioners had donated the inmate-raised food.

So the full dollar amount was still available.

They agreed to divide up the dollars so that the food pantries in Colebrook and Lancaster, both of which serve nearby New Hampshire towns as well as those across the Connecticut River in Vermont, would each receive $1,500.

Tentatively both Pittsburg and Groveton would each receive $1,000 each, with the understanding that if their infrastructures were not able to handle this money, it would be given to a pantry in the nearest large town.

County administrator Jennifer Fish was directed to get these dollars out to these pantries before Christmas.

Commissioner Paul Grenier explained that none of these dollars were being given to Androscoggin Valley communities because none had been requested. He said a food pantry in Berlin operates entirely without any public funds.

The commissioners also learned that county taxes had not yet been received from two towns: Dalton and Milan.

Fish explained that the Stewartstown Post Office is now only open four hours a day, Monday to Friday. It appears, she said, that the postal delivery truck may have tried to make its delivery, including the property tax checks, at a time when the P. O. was closed.

The commissioners voted to allocate a total of $123,665 in 2012 National Forest funds to make tuition payments for five students who live in Unincorporated Places who attend local New Hampshire schools: four from Millsfield and one in Wentworth's Location. Eighty-five percent of these dollars will be spent for tuition payments, and 15 percent will be retained by the state.

In other action, the commissioners decided to delay awarding the sole bid to print the Cos County report to Smith and Town in Berlin until they hold their regular monthly meeting on Jan. 8 in Lancaster. By then the county's professional staff will have converted the per-page cost plus cover price into a total bid figure.

The commissioners could not approve the Unincorporated Places property tax warrant as listed on the agenda because it had not yet been mailed to them by the state Department of Revenue Administration (DRA).

The lawyer working on the question of whether or not the commissioners can legally spend federal PILT monies that will be received over a 10-year period by the Unincorporated Place of Wentworth's Location on a proposed riprap project on the banks of the Magalloway River to protect several camps and houses on private property had an additional question and has not yet rendered her opinion, the commissioners learned.

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