Wolfeboro 2013 default budget set at $25,151,179


by Thomas Beeler
Editor of The Granite State News
December 13, 2012
WOLFEBORO — Finance Director Pete Chamberlin submitted and selectmen approved a default operating budget of $25,151,179 for 2013 at the board's Dec. 5 meeting.

The default budget is defined by state law and is limited to increases mandated by contract or law. It becomes the town budget if the warrant article for the Operating Budget is not approved by voters in March. The current Operating Budget approved by voters for 2012 is $26,683,931. The default budget would be $1,532,752 less, a reduction of 5.7 percent.

On Nov. 7 Wolfeboro selectmen approved an Operating Budget of $26,339,198 for 2013: that budget is currently being reviewed by the Budget Committee.

Public hearings

Selectmen held two public hearing on Dec. 5.

The first was to accept as a town road Beck Drive, the access road off of Pine Hill Road/Route 109A to the Harriman Hill workforce housing project along with the eight-inch water line and two hydrants located on the road and the portion of the sewer line that connects to the town sewer system under Route 109A.

The first phase of the Harriman Hill project, consisting of six buildings with four rental housing units each, was completed last year and of the 24 apartments all but one have been rented. The Eastern Lakes Region Housing Coalition (ELRHC) has received a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant to begin the second phase, which will include another six buildings and 24 more units. Construction on that phase will begin next spring.

The road and water and sewer lines were all built to town specifications. Public Works Director Dave Ford, who said he "kept a close eye on the project," said the infrastructure passed inspection and recommended acceptance, contingent only on providing a recordable deed for the road and an as-built plan stamped by a licensed surveyor.

Ford pointed out that there are more than two hydrants in the subdivision: the town was only accepting ownership of the two on Beck Drive. The low-pressure sewer line runs through the woods to the town main on Route 109A.

ELRHC board member Kathy Barnard made the presentation and Board Chair Edie DesMarais was present to answer questions.

There were no public comments. The board voted unanimously to accept the road and water and sewer lines.

Separately the issue of speeding on the new road was raised. Barnard said the managing agent has been in contact with tenants about not speeding. A 25 MPH speed is posted. Selectman Sarah Silk said she will bring the issue of speed enforcement to the Wolfeboro Police Commission meeting next week. Silk is the Selectman's Representative to that board.

The second public hearing of the evening was held to accept a donation of $5,000 from Christie and David Bowers to fund a Christmas party for town employees and their spouses, to be held this Friday, Dec. 14 at the Wolfeboro Inn. The amount is equal to Bowers' annual selectman's salary, and is offered in gratitude for the good work that town employees do all year.

Town Manager Dave Owen said the gift was very generous and that employees appreciate it a great deal.

The vote to accept the gift was unanimous.

Libby Museum issues

Ford reported to selectmen, who are the trustees of the Libby Museum, on three problems with the building that need to be addressed:

1) The walls are moving. One wall is five inches out of alignment. The plan is to monitor to see if the movement is continuing.

2) Excessive moisture levels have been detected and also need to be monitored to see what needs to be done.

3) Tiles in the dropped ceiling are "stressed." Ford said the plan is to bring in staging to inspect the tiles and see what corrective work needs to be done. The ceiling tiles were installed to cover up a deteriorating plaster ceiling.

Ford said he hopes to be able to do the inspection and monitoring work within his 2012 maintenance budget. If corrective work is needed, the cost would have to be added to the 2013 budget.

Ford said he had talked with former director Pat Smith about the issues, and she directed him to Carter Cincotta, who did work on the ceiling earlier. Selectman Chair Linda Murray suggested Ford also talk with Phil Decelle and Maggie Stier.

Selectman Dave Senecal, who is also Building Inspector for the Town of Ossipee, said he would like to participate in the inspection.

Other business

Selectmen took one more pass at 2013 warrant articles: see separate report.

Town Counsel Mark Puffer advised the board that since the 1932 ordinance prohibiting Sunday activities had been adopted at Town Meeting, it will take a warrant article to change the ordinance to allow sports and sales on Sundays. Owen will draft the needed ordinance for review at the next meeting.

Silk spoke to the board about safe disposal of hypodermic needles and lancets used in diabetes testing. The Medical Sharps committee she has been serving on is recommending using laundry detergent bottles as a container. Once full the bottle needs to be seal and marked "DO NOT RECYCLE" before disposal: special labels have been produced that can be affixed to the containers with this message. The idea is to avoid anyone in the disposal process handling or being stuck by medical sharps. Another option available at Care Pharmacy in Wolfeboro and other local pharmacies is the BD Needle Clip that breaks off needs and can store 10,000 needles and lancets at low cost.

The board approved placing a photo of Downtown Streets improvements on the front cover of the 2012 Town Report. A photo of the new Glendon Street parking lot will be on the back cover.

Selectmen approved the appointment of Art Slocum as full member of the Conservation Commission. He is currently an alternate. Chair Dan Coons recommended Slocum following the resignation of Mike Hodder.

The board formally approved the necessary documents to secure $1,665,000 in general obligation bonds at an overall interest rate of 2.27 percent.

Owen reported an electrical malfunction at the Pop Whalen Arena on Friday, Nov. 30, that led to a fire which was extinguished by staff. Power was out over the weekend but emergency generators were installed in time to prevent the ice from melting. Town insurance carrier Primex will cover the damage.

Owen also reported that an invitation for students to apply for Josiah Brown scholarships has gone out (with applications due by Dec. 31) and that 100 percent of eligible employees and retirees enrolled in the new health insurance plan before deadline.

Silk reported that the Abenaki Ski Area will open on Dec. 26 for the season. The Friends of Abenaki are offering ski rentals through Skiworks for $145 for the season.

The next meeting of the Wolfeboro Board of Selectmen will be on Wednesday, Dec. 19 at 6:30 p.m. at the Wolfeboro Public Library meeting room.

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