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City Council back to work in the new year

by Tara Giles
Sports reporter - Coos County Democrat and Berlin Reporter
January 13, 2021
BERLIN — At last week's City Council meeting in Berlin, the Mayor opened a Public Hearing for Resolution 2021-01, re-appropriating funds for a PW-Loader Lease Account. There were no public comments.

The Disbursement Summary from Dec. 19-30 came to a total of $1,129,281.82. That amount was approved by all Councilors.

A Resolution that would re-appropriate $33,403.07 from fiscal year 2021, for a CI-PW Garbage Packer ($13,762.60); FY21 CI-PW Salt Truck ($8,640.45); FY21 CI- PW Loader Mounted Snow Blower ($11,000.00) to FY21 CI-PW Loader Operation Lease was discussed.

The Resolution states, "Whereas, the City is in need of replacing two of its loaders which are primary equipment for snow removal; and Whereas, favorable bid pricing resulted in a combined surplus of $33,403.07 in the FY20 capital accounts for a garbage packer, salt truck and loader mounted snow blower, and Whereas, by combining the $33,403.07 with $63,786.09 which is currently available in the FY21 CI-PW Loader Operation Lease account, funding is available for one additional loader. Funding for the second loader will not be needed until FY22."

The Resolution passed.

A Resolution in regard to the Berlin Airport Authority Grant has been tabled. A public hearing will take place on Jan. 18, 2021.

City Manager James Wheeler shared his report. He states that Cross Excavation has removed the building next to the Fire Station and that the demolition should be complete by the end of last week.

He went on to state, "Relative to current tax bill and as a reminder, Governor Sununu's Emergency Orders #25 and #56 authorize communities "to enter into agreements with property taxpayers for the payment of property taxes on an agreed schedule, which may include a reduction or waiver of any interest on such taxes."

At their July 20 meeting, the Council authorized waiving interest if the balance of the full principal of taxes and sewer on all properties in the same ownership is paid in full.

Berlin was notified in late November that the Board of Tax and Land Appeals had scheduled an evidentiary hearing for Tuesday, Jan. 12. More on this hearing will be provided in next week's issue.

Wheeler went on to brief the Council in regard to the City's BUILD application.

He states, "On Dec. 30, 2020, Pam Laflamme, myself, Burgess Biopower and our technical team participated in a de-briefing with a representative from the Federal Highway Administration on our BUILD application submitted in 2020 for the Downtown Reconstruction Project."

He went on to explain, "The FHA offers de-briefings to help applicants improve their chances on future submissions. During the call we learned that FHA received 656 applications in 2020. Those applications represented approximately $10B in requests."

Wheeler relayed that the BUILD program has roughly $1B in funding. He said that all applications are initially put into one of four categories including Highly Recommended, Recommended, Acceptable and Not Acceptable. Apparently just those applications that are rated Highly Acceptable go on for further consideration.

He relayed that of the 656 total applications, 236 were rated Highly Recommended. Berlin's application was one of these. In the end, of the 236 Highly Recommended applications, only 70 received awards.

Wheeler said, "Nonetheless, it was very encouraging to learn how well we did in the process. We learned several things which we believe will help us improve our chances in a future round."

Lastly, Mark Knowlton was nominated and approved as a member of BIDPA, which will expire on July 31, 2023.

Martin Lord Osman
Town of Brookfield
Town of Brookfield
Varney Smith
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