February 06, 2014TUFTONBORO — Some construction projects in Tuftonboro, previously put on hold, are coming back to life, according to Code Officer Jack Parsons. He reported to the Board of Selectmen on Monday, Feb. 3, that he has also issued three new building permits in January and performed 30 inspections.
At the same time, the real estate market in town has created "severe inequality" with owners of lower priced homes overpaying taxes, said contract assessor Rod Wood. In Tuftonboro, sales have been three to four times slower than in other towns in the state, he told the board, and he said the state recommends moving up the scheduled five-year assessment to 2014 to alleviate the disparity.
The board agreed to add $25,000 to this year's appropriations for the assessment.
Wood also presented the good news to the board that a property previously in current use was sold for development of six lots. The Land Use Change Tax, following the change of use from the lower current use rate, amounts to $98,000 (10 percent of the $980,000 property value).
That revenue will be go into the town's General Fund, with up to $5,000 going to the Conservation Fund, under control of the Conservation Commission.
Steve Wingate, a certified forester representing Tuftonboro on the Lakes Region Planning Commission's planning update advisory committee, said he is pleased to be on the committee, for "planning is a good way of solving problems."
He said the last plan "didn't do much to address the quality degradation of lake water…and water quality is the basis of our economy." Development leads to more impervious surfaces in the form of roads, roofs, and driveways and goes directly into the lake, according to scientific findings. That, said Wingate, leads to increases in phosphorus and nitrogen in the water, which in turn, reduces water clarity and encourages algal growth.
Septic system updates, how one manages their lawn, and the proportion of trees on a given property all have an effect on water quality. "Trees and soil are one of the best ways to absorb phosphorus, nitrogen and carbon," said the forester.
The new Executive Director of the Lakes Region Planning Commission, Jeff Hayes, is well versed in the issues, commented Wingate, but he would like to know where the selectmen in the various towns in the Lakes Region feel about the issues he described. Members of the board encouraged Wingate's work on the committee.
Wingate, formerly employed by the U.S. Forest Service, said that his wife, Sue, also a forester, would like to become involved with him on creating educational opportunities for children and adults on town land.
"There are 22 acres behind the library," offered Selectman Lloyd Wood, who applauded the effort, which would include the expertise of UNH Cooperative Extension Service Forester Wendy Scribner. Wood indicated that he sees it as an opportunity to involve students from the Lakes Region Technical Center's Forestry program, led by Bruce Farr.
At the conclusion of the meeting, this reporter asked the Board, in follow up to questions and comments from unnamed citizens presented to the Budget Committee by member Tyler Phillips at its Jan. 14 meeting, for advice as to where they might obtain information about why a new building is proposed rather than an expansion, where someone might see a sketch of the library, and its effect on the tax rate.
The first answer was that information is available at the library. In further discussion, it became apparent the town web site offers a sketch of the proposed library via the library link; clicking on the Boards and Committees link will take a browser to the Capital Improvements Program and the complete 2014 through 2023 booklet, which includes detailed information on the tax impact to homeowners and the town's capital capacity.
For those without computers, the site may be accessed on the library's computers and a hard copy of the CIP booklet is also available at the town offices.
A comment from Phillip's list pertaining to increasing use of computers reflects the thinking that the increase in electronic media makes more space unnecessary. Information on that question is answered in the CIP booklet in a summary from statistics provided to the CIP by the library's board of trustees.
Wood offered his own library usage as a case in point. Though he said he visits the library about every ten days, he rarely goes to check out a book. He avails himself of the other media. "It's one stop shopping," he declared.
The Budget Committee hearing on the 2014 budget is scheduled for next Tuesday, Feb. 11, at 7 p.m. in the Town House. The purpose is to accept public input before finalizing the budget.
The Tuftonboro Free Library is holding an informational session on the proposed library building on Saturday, Feb. 15, at 11 a.m.
On February 18, a hearing on financing of the library bond is scheduled at the Town House. Time TBA.