August 29, 2013WOLFEBORO — At their Aug. 21 meeting, Wolfeboro selectmen voted unanimously to sign an agreement with 17 residents and the developer of Winnipesaukee Drive to do an engineering study of the private road.
At the July 17 Wolfeboro selectmen's meeting, a petition was submitted signed by 20 property owners that asked the town to authorize a study of the two roads in Winnipesaukee Hills Estates to determine what needed to be done to upgrade them to the level where they could be accepted as town roads. The actual improvements would be paid for over time by the owners of property in the subdivision through what is known as a betterment assessment, an additional charge added to the owner's property taxes.
Selectmen Chair Sarah Silk asked why the owners of all of the 24 lots that had been sold were not participating in the agreement, just 17. Resident Tom Mechachonis explained that two lots were in Alton, three had signed the previous petition submitted on July 17, and the rest were absentee owners. In other words, 20 of the lot owners plus the developer, B & H Development Corporation, which owned 24 unsold lots – 44 out of 48 lots – supported getting the estimate of costs. Resident Marie Rogge said the 17 names listed in the agreement agreed to be represented by the attorney who approved the document.
Public Works Director Dave Ford presented a quote from engineers Woodard & Curran for $2,000 to do the road assessment and provide a cost estimate for the upgrade project.
Town Manager Dave Owen said the document presented had been approved by Town Counsel Mark Puffer and the attorneys representing the resident lot owners and the developer. All property owners would be obligated to pay the betterment assessment to fund the work if it proceeds.
Despite this reassurance, Silk and Selectman Linda Murray said they would like all lot owners to be given the opportunity to sign the agreement.
Selectman Brad Harriman said he did not think everyone needed to sign off on a $2,000 engineering estimate but agreed that an effort should be made to get others to sign on the road project itself. Selectman Dave Senecal agreed with Harriman.
Murray said she still thinks the others should be notified and given a copy of the agreement.
Ford said he expects the road assessment to be done the second week of September and the cost estimate for be ready for the selectmen's first meeting in October. If the estimate is accepted, he said that would be followed by road layout, public hearings and a warrant article for next March.
The board voted 4-0 to sign the engineering agreement. Selectman Dave Bowers was absent from the Aug. 21 meeting.
Town Hall parking lot plan
Ford presented for board approval a revised plan for reconstructing the Town Hall parking lot. The new plan adds two more spaces out front, which will require an easement from the school district, plus a path through to the back parking lot on the Carpenter School side of the building.
The two handicap parking spots were moved up to the back of the building near where a future handicapped back entrance with elevator is planned.
The revised plan adds back a total of three spaces from the original plan. Only two out of the current 56 spaces will be lost. Access from Union Street will be restricted to three openings by tree plantings.
Planning Board Chair Kathy Barnard asked if the planting island out front could be made to match the new one installed down South Main Street in front of Hunter's Shop 'n Save.
The board approved the revised plan with Barnard's request. Ford will now send the approved plan to the U.S. Department of Justice for approval, which is required under the settlement the town signed in the Americans with Disabilities Act suit.
The board agreed to endorse an application from the Friends of Wolfeboro Town Hall for funds for the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program to restore windows on the second and third floors of Town Hall. See separate story.
Selectmen approved a proposal from insurance carrier Primex to make a three-year commitment to stay with the insurance in return for a guarantee to cap annual increases at 7 percent. Carl Weber from Primex explained that the cap would be a ceiling and that actual increases could be less. Owen said town staff endorses the proposal. Last's year's property and casualty insurance increase was 7 percent. The town has had losses recently, Silk noted, with the fire department's ladder truck and the fires at Pop Whalen and the Public Works garage.
Finance Director Peter Chamberlin presented his monthly analysis of expenditures and revenues against budget. After adjusting for the fact that annual bond interest payments for all but the electric department have all been made, expenditures through July are 56.9 percent of the budget 58.3 percent of the way through the year. The contract assessor is running under budget and has said he will not need the extra 20 days budgeted for him. General Fund revenues are at 64.8 percent of budget.
Selectmen had received a request from the Lower Beech Pond Village District for a meeting to discuss preparing a warrant article for repairs to the pond's dam. Town counsel noted the village district needed only a vote of district members, not board approval to proceed, so the meeting request was withdrawn.
The date for the town Deliberative Session was set for Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014, with a snow date of Thursday, Feb. 6. Town elections will held on Tuesday, March 11.
In planning for the 2014 budget, the board will review requests from non-profit organizations at its regular meeting on Sept. 18 and will hold departmental budget reviews beginning at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 8, 10, 17, 23 and 24 with additional meetings if needed on Oct. 29 and 30.
The first Wednesday in January is New Years Day, so selectmen agreed to meeting in January in the second and fourth weeks, Jan. 8 and 22, for that month only.
Ford informed the board that he had reviewed the traffic safety signs following complaints about them by North Wolfeboro residents at the last meeting and removed 13, including nine in North Wolfeboro. See separate story.
Owen reported that a county delegation subcommittee was to meet on Monday, Aug. 26, to discuss county dispatch costs. Murray was to attend that meeting with Owen.
The board approved Owen's request to write to the New Hampshire congressional delegation to object to a proposed elimination of tax exemption for municipal bond interest.
Owen also reported work has begun on the Parks and Recreation maintenance building.
The next meeting of the Wolfeboro Board of Selectmen will be on Wednesday, Sept. 4, at 6:30 p.m. at the Wolfeboro Public Library meeting room.