Wakefield selectmen presented with restored town records for 1924-82

by Thomas Beeler
Editor of The Granite State News

TOWN CLERK VALERIE WARD holds one of the four volumes of town records covering the years 1924 through 1982 just restored thanks to an $8,500 Moos Plate preservation grant. (Photo courtesy of Jim Miller, ClearView Community Television) (click for larger version)
November 21, 2013
WAKEFIELD — Current Town Clerk Valerie Ward and her predecessor Monique Wood gave a presentation on the four newly-restored town record books covering the years 1924 through 1982 to Wakefield selectmen at their Nov. 13 meeting.

The records were restored thanks to a grant for $8,500 from the Moose Plate program, which is administered by the State Library through the Department of Cultural Resources. Residents who register their automobile and choose a conservation license plate pay an extra $30 that goes into the Moose Plate fund.

The original records were in bad shape, brittle and crumbling. Staples and paper clips in the records had rusted. They are now all preserved as individually-mounted pages in very sturdy bindings.

Ward and Wood passed around the four books for inspection by board and audience members, along with photographs of the original books showing their poor condition.

The new volumes will be kept in a special safe at Town Hall, available for review by request through the town clerk's office.

In addition to the bound volumes the record will also be available shortly as digital images on a DVD kept at the Wakefield Library and the State Library.

Selectman Chair Ken Paul thanked Ward and Wood for their successful effort to get the records preserved, noting that the preservation funds had first been requested in the operating budget but were cut. Wood then successfully applied for the preservation grant, which was one of only 13 given this year.

Wakefield/Brookfield TRAC

Ernie Brown of the Wakefield/Brookfield Trails Rails Action Committee (TRAC) gave selectmen a progress report on the committee's efforts to provide a recreation trail along the Wakefield-Wolfeboro rail line.

The group secured a state grant from the Bureau of Trails for $30,000 and raised $17,000 privately to fund the work. Phase I, building a trail from Turntable Park on Meadow Street in Sanbornville to Route 16 is largely complete, with only signs left to be installed. The project used 133 tons of gravel, as well as road fabric and stone dust. A round trip is 1.55 miles. Most of the trail is beside the tracks but 319 feet runs between the rails.

Brown said Darayl Remick of Wakefield saved the project a lot of money but using his heavy equipment to spread the gravel and stone dust.

Phase II will run from Miss Wakefield Diner on Route 16 to Clark Road in Brookfield. It is on hold because it is getting cold as winter approaches. The rail car clubs are concerned about whether placing stone dust between the rails will spread them and are looking into welding rods between rails to keep them aligned.

At the end of Phase II there will still be four miles to be done between Clark Road and the Cotton Valley Trail in Wolfeboro. Once that gap is closed the total run will be 12 miles just short of half a marathon race.

There is a kiosk at Turntable Park giving trail information. Once Phase II is done Scott Bramer, owner of Miss Wakefield Diner, will install a second kiosk at his location.

Selectman Connie Twombley asked if bikes could use the trail.

Brown said that bikes, snowmobiles, other vehicles and horses can be used on the trail. The only exclusion mandated by the state is four-wheelers.

Once the trail is complete volunteers will maintain it.

Selectmen thanked Brown for his report.

Office renovation

Code Enforcement Officer Nate Fogg presented the board with the single bid received for renovating the lower level office. Building Inspector David Stephen had estimated the cost at $2,993. The bid from Tier One Construction was for $7,300.

Paul asked if Stephen's estimate included labor as well as materials (yes) and was it quoted at Stephen's contractor rate or as a town employee (contractor rate).

Selectman Charlie Edwards felt the town should go with Stephen working as a private contractor. Town Administrator Teresa Williams said that funds left for renovations were $4,500, which would cover Stephen's bid.

Fogg said he would check with Stephen to see if he is willing to proceed based on his estimate.

Paul advised scheduling the work to begin in December in case Stephen can't do it because it would then fall into the 2014 budget year when additional funds would be available.

Newfield Road request

Seven residents of Newfield Road have asked the town to accept their road as a year-round Class V road. It is currently a Class VI road (not maintained by the town) for seasonal use only.

Williams presented the board with an estimate from Road Agent Fred Clough of $173,000 for bringing the road up to current Class V standards.

Looking over the estimate, Paul said he thought it was high and should be able to be done for less up to a third less if done by town employees.

Edwards moved to accept the request, which was denied.

Williams said the residents would now have to collect enough signatures for a petition warrant article, without costs specified. The costs would be discussed at the Deliberative Session. Residents could get another, lower quote if they wanted.

Paul noted that Wakefield voters do not seem to want to accept roads. The last proposal was for Pinewood Crossing, which was a private road in good shape, and that did not pass.

Meetings on cell phones

ClearView Community Television President Jim Miller informed selectmen that town meetings can now be viewed on cell phones. There is now a CELLPHONES link at the top of the Home page at that allows a cellphone user to view meetings from now on.

Miller noted that ClearView is still having quality issues because of the consumer-grade equipment they are using. He said that once the franchise fees are received from Time Warner they will be able to upgrade key equipment using condenser microphones, for instance, would improve sound quality.

All of the selectmen's budget meetings are now available for viewing, Miller announced.

Other business

Williams announced that the Department of Revenue Administration had approved the 2013 town property tax rate at $12.28, up 33 cents or 2.76 percent higher than the 2012 rate of $11.95. See separate story in this issue.

The board voted to accept a highway safety grant for $3,900 to fund commuting patrols by the Wakefield Police Department.

Selectmen also approved a revised Winter and Inclement Weather policy that calls for a minimum snowfall of Tamworth inches before plowing. The final decision of whether to plow or not is left to the road agent.

The board formally accepted the town maps and data produced by the E911 program.

Selectmen reviewed a Department of Fish & Game proposal to lease the Lovell Lake boat ramp for 20 years in order to repair and maintain it. The launch is on town property. Linda Schier of the Acton Wakefield Watershed Alliance brought the issue up. Edwards said he wanted to make sure that Fish & Game will not restrict access. Paul asked Williams to find out more about the program and bring the proposal back.

The board received a request to support repeal of the state's workforce housing law. It was not clear who sent the request and the issue was tabled pending a clarification.

Selectmen received a request from the Greater Wakefield Resource Center to pay two bills: one for $551 for a sewer switch and another for $454 for a six-zone heating control. Since the heating control was part of the furnace replaced project, Paul advocated paying for it; however, the sewer switch, being inside, was not the town's responsibility. The board agreed.

The board approved a contract with the Property Liability Trust, switching liability coverage from Primex and saving $17,000 in the process.

The next meeting of the board was scheduled for Monday, Nov. 18, to review health care costs in the budget. Because the fourth Wednesday this year falls on Thanksgiving evening, selectmen decided to skip it but be prepared to hold an interim meeting on Monday, Nov, 25. The board's next regular meeting after that is scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 11, at 7 p.m. in the Town Hall meeting room.

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