September 26, 2013WOLFEBORO — Town Manager Dave Owen announced at the Sept. 18 selectmen's meeting that the Route 28 reconstruction project is back on the state's 10-year major projects list after having been dropped in 2007. That project, along with many others, was dropped because lower revenues from the gas tax and higher cost of materials meant it would take 35 years instead of 10 to undertake them all.
The proposed project involves completely rebuilding the current roadbed from the Alton town line to Pickering Corner, where Route 28 joins Route 109. The existing roadbed was built in the 1930s and featured a concrete pavement that is narrower than current roads and has been deteriorating under the layers of asphalt applied to it since then. Because of the added layers the road is also higher than sidewalks in some places, like South Main Street.
The basic proposal would involve removing the concrete base, reshaping the roadbed and improving drainage, and building a new road to modern standards.
Public Works Director Dave Ford has been trying to get the project back on the state list ever since it was dropped. Part of that effort involved the town funding a corridor study of Route 28 to identify all issues with the road and get input from residents and other users of the road. The fact that the town did the study was instrumental in moving the project back up the list in terms of priority.
Even though the Route 28 project is back on the state list, it is in the last position, scheduled for a 2024 start.
Owen presented selectmen with a letter to sign, addressed to William J. Cass, assistant director of project development at the N.H. Department of Transportation, thanking the department, as well as the Lakes Region Planning Commission and the Technical Advisory Committee, who helped prepare the 10-year plan.
The letter also included the following statement: "The project as proposed is scheduled for construction in 2024 for a total of $10,189,000; however, the Town is willing to work with your staff in breaking the project into smaller segments and possibly moving it forward on the schedule if other projects are not ready or if additional funding becomes available."
Finance Direct Peter Chamberlin presented his monthly review of expenditures and revenues against the 2013 budget as of the end of August. After eight months (two-thirds or 66.7 percent of the way through the year) overall expenditures were 63.4 percent of budget and revenues stood at 72.8 percent. Looking just at the General Fund, where core operating costs are incurred, and excluding the four Enterprise Funds (Electric, Water, Sewer and Pop Whalen Ice Arena), expended to date was even better at 59.8 percent.
The only area of concern to Chamberlin was Welfare which, due to increased need for assistance, is running over. He estimated that it could end up by year end being $15,000 over budget.
On the positive side, Chamberlin included a comparison of legal expenses through August for 2012 and 2013 showing this year's expenses running $11,095.81 less than 2012 (15.8 percent lower) on the same budget.
Town Manager Owen noted that this is the third year that a budget freeze at year end has not been necessary, thanks to better attention to the budget throughout the year. Chamberlin gave credit to department heads for taking advantage of online access to stay on top of expenses.
Town Hall parking plan
Owen reported that the Department of Justice approved the plan for reconstructing the Town Hall parking lot, with one adjustment. The town was requested to move the two handicapped spaces in the lot behind the building back toward Union Street and away from the entrance to the Annex.
The spaces had been planned near the Annex entrance because the long-term plan is to build both a handicapped entrance and install an elevator there. The revised location is closer to the front handicapped entrances.
Ford confirmed that when and if the handicap entrance and elevator are installed, the spaces can simply be restriped and moved back to be next to the new entrance.
Selectmen were presented with and reviewed 2014 funding requests from 15 nonprofit agencies serving Wolfeboro residents. Of the 15, three requested increased funding and one was new, but the other 11 budget requests were for the same amount as last year. See separate story on the front page this week.
Owen reported that the backup generator for the public safety antenna at Bennett Hill is finally being installed.
The police department has applied for a $3,537.84 new radio unit for dispatch. Owen also reported that, due to health issues with police dog Blek, the K-9 unit is being suspended. Please see a separate report in this issue.
Owen notified the board he has signed an extension for completion of the Harriman Hill workforce housing project to December 2014.
Selectman Chair Sarah Silk said someone turned in a plastic bag full of unwanted medications, all mixed together, at the medicine collection held last Saturday. It took hours to separate and identify the medications. She urged people to keep the drugs in their original containers showing the name of the medication and dose (patient name can be blacked out).
There will be one more medicine collection this year at the Wolfeboro Police Department on Saturday, Oct. 26.
Selectmen approved temporary event permits for the Wolfeboro Area Children's Center to hold a Community Yard Sale at Kingswood from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 12; for the Hospital Aid Association to hold weekend sales at its collection barn off of Pine Hill Road from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays beginning Oct. 11; and for Assistance Canine Training Services and Winni Paw Station to hold a fundraiser from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Oct. 6 at The Nick.
The next meeting of the Wolfeboro Board of Selectmen will be on Wednesday, Oct. 2, at 6:30 p.m. at the Wolfeboro Public Library meeting room.