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Joyce Endee

No deficiencies or weaknesses found in Wolfeboro audit

Board considers office modifications but will wait for estimates

by Thomas Beeler
Editor of The Granite State News
August 09, 2012
WOLFEBORO — Selectmen got good news from town auditors at their Aug. 1 meeting: "no deficiencies or weaknesses" were found during the auditors review of 2011 financial statements and the procedures that produced them.

Jarad Vartanian, Senior Audit Manager at Vachon Clukay who conducted the Wolfeboro audit, and Managing Director Robert Vachon, reviewed the highlights of the report of selectmen, which they pointed out was an "unqualified opinion." There were fewer adjustments made to 2011 reported results than there were in 2010.

The town ended 2011 with $2.1 million in reserve (unexpended or "unassigned" fund balance), down $520,00 from 2010 but at 11 percent of expenditures still well within the range of eight to 15 percent recommended by the state Department of Revenue Administration.

Vachon warned the town that the state retirement system will report the condition of retirement funds late in the year, along with the town's share of 2012 pension costs. This may make a significant difference in the budget and, because it is expected to be late, could complicate end-of-year planning.

Josiah Brown Trust scholarships

After a lengthy effort to reclaim the funds in the Josiah Brown Trust and appoint new trustees, the town invited students to apply for $1,000 per semester scholarships. Town Manager Dave Owen reported that of the applications received by the July 15 deadline, three met all of the criteria. The Board of Selectmen approved awards for: Nikolas Krainchich, who will be attending Lehigh University; Milan Krainchich, who will be attending Lyndon State College in Vermont; and Mikayla B. Jacobs, who will be attending UNH.

Office renovations

During discussion of progress on town office improvements at its last meeting on July 25, selectmen learned that the Assessing Department was requesting that its space be expanded before any new carpet was installed. The board asked for plans and cost estimates before making a decision.

Owen presented the basic proposal submitted by Assessing Clerk Laura Ridings along with three alternative configurations. Owen said he does not want to reduce the size of the meeting room, which one of the three options proposes, by moving a wall and expanding into the meeting room space. Estimated cost of the modifications would be in the range of $2,500 to $2,600.

Selectman Dave Senecal said he like the basic proposal, adding a change from one of the alternatives where the present plate glass window is replaced by one that opens because it would improve ventilation.

Selectman Chair Linda Murray said she did not want to disturb the staff break area adjacent to the assessing office.

Owen reported that the town's insurance carrier Primex recommended a new desk, chair and keyboard to address ergonomic issues. He said he believed those costs could be covered in the current budget.

The board voted 5-0 to accept Selectman Sarah Silk's recommendation to wait for final costs and confirmation on funding of new furniture before reaching a decision.

Other business

Selectmen approved creating the Sam and Olivia Smith Libby Museum Fund, as requested by longtime Libby Museum Director Pat Smith. Proceeds from the sale of prints of a Peter Ferber poster of the museum will be used to endow the fund, which will be managed by the Trustees of Trust Funds. The fund will be used to support programs on the natural history of New England at the Libby. Selectmen thanked Smith for her gift and her dedication to the museum and its mission.

The board reviewed and commented on New Hampshire Municipal Association "Floor Policies" that guide how the association deals with legislative issues. The association represents the interests of New Hampshire towns and cities before the legislature and governor.

All selectmen agreed to be present at the Sept. 11 primary elections from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. at All Saints' Church undercroft.

In his Town Manager's Report Owen noted that there will be an election law training session at the Public Library meeting room on Monday, Aug. 28, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Since there have been changes in the law Town Clerk Pat Waterman wants selectmen to attend.

Assistant Town Clerk Martha Krause is retiring and there will be a party for her on Friday, Aug. 10, from noon to 2 p.m.

Employee Appreciation Day has been set for Friday, Sept. 7 at Albee Beach. Town offices will close for that afternoon.

Owen reported that he has heard Stewart's Ambulance is losing money on its Wolfeboro ambulance contract. They have not asked to renegotiate the contract and Wolfeboro Fire Rescue reports no problems with the ambulance service. The current contract expires in December 2013.

A contract for asbestos abatement at 255 South Main (the former Bun McBride property) has been signed with a local contractor. Barring someone coming forward who is willing to move the house, it will be demolished this fall by the Department of Public Works.

Public Works has applied for a grant to fund an engineering study of work needed to upgrade Middleton Road. Work would not be done until 2014 and will be paid for one-third by the town and two-thirds by the state.

The contractor responsible for emptying trash barrels downtown has been erratic and is being docked for non-performance. Owen warned that the town may have to take over trash removal for the rest of the year.

Murray reported that milfoil harvesting will resume from Aug. 13 through Aug. 27.

Silk said the next Household Hazardous Waste disposal day and unwanted medicine collection will be on Saturday, Aug. 18.

Senecal reported he was bothered by the attitudes of some Budget Committee members toward the Board of Selectmen and Public Works Director expressed at the last meeting.

Selectman Chuck Storm reported that the planning board is deal with landlocked lots that are now appraised as "buildable," the Shoreland Protection ordinance, and a zoning change to remove the Technical Review Committee review requirement for all projects outside of downtown.

The next meeting of the Wolfeboro Board of Selectmen will be on Wednesday, Aug. 15 at 6:30 p.m. at the Wolfeboro Public Library meeting room.

Martin Lord Osman
Salmon Press
Garnett HIll
Varney Smith
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