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Selectmen to hold public hearing on accepting Stonehenge Road as town road

by Thomas Beeler
Editor of The Granite State News
July 10, 2014
WOLFEBORO — At their July 2 meeting Wolfeboro selectmen took up again a petition from all eight property owners on Stonehenge Road to lay out their road as a town road.

The petition was first received on Feb. 26 and the board discussed the proposal with residents on March 19. At that time the board directed Public Works Director Dave Ford to develop a scope of work and come up with an estimate of the cost for improvements needed to bring the road up to current town standards. Weather conditions prevented a full assessment until June, and Ford presented his recommendations and estimate in a memo dated June 25.

Unlike Winnipesauke Drive, whose residents tried to get their road upgraded and accepted as a town road last year but were blocked by the subdivision developer, Stonehenge Road is short (1,200 feet) and was built on a good foundation, Ford found. The subdivision was approved in 1984 and "the road has held up quite well over the 30 +/- years," Ford reported. The only problem noted was a culvert at the intersection with Oakwood Road, which would have to be dug up, and blasting done to allow a new culvert to be installed deeper to improve drainage.

Ford recommended reclaiming the road, grading it, and paving a two-inch base and one-inch wear coat. His estimate of total cost was $72,342 which, when amortized through a Betterment Assessment over 10 years, would cost each lot owner $658 a year.

Charles Gaudette of 38 Stonehenge Road said, "All owners are in favor" of the project.

The board agreed to hold the required public hearing on the petition at its Aug. 20 meeting. If the project passes the public hearing it will be placed on the March 2015 warrant for voter approval: even though the road will be upgraded and paid for by the residents, not taxpayers, the town would assume maintenance of the road from the time it was accepted.

Selectman Brad Harriman said he would have to recuse himself from deliberations since he built the road in 1984 as a private contractor.

Beach Pond Road

Road work was also the subject of the public comments section at the start of the July 2 meeting.

Douglas Phillips of 960 Beach Pond Road addressed the board to further his call that Beach Pond Road be given priority in town road reconstruction. He distributed copies of the letters he had written to the board on the state of the road along with the two responses he had received. He also passed out several photos showing improper drainage, a section so narrow two cars can't pass, inadequate guardrails and two accidents where cars went off the road.

"I look forward to helping the board address these problems," he said in conclusion. "Things take time," he acknowledged, but stated that long-term planning is needed.

Jim Wilhelm of 939 Beach Pond Road said he has lived at his address for 17 years and "the road's gotten steadily worse." He gave the example of a leaking gym roof where the school tried to put off roof repair by covering it with blue tarps that needed to be replaced every year. "I see blue tarps all over Beach Pond Road," Wilhelm said.

Selectmen Chair Linda Murray said she had driven the road and looked at the problems, thanked Phillips and Wilhelm and said the board would take their comments into consideration.

Other business

The board discussed the problem of finding a code enforcement officer following the resignation of Audrey Cline, the current CEO, and settled on a way to increase the pay offered for the position to attract more candidates. See separate article in this issue.

Bob Stewart, treasurer of the Trustees of Trust Funds, made a presentation to selectmen of two recent state law changes that allow the trustees to contract with banks and brokerage firms for the management of the town's capital reserves and to allow any management fees to be charged to the income generated. Stewart explained that many town certificates of deposit with 4 percent rates are maturing and currents CDs pay very little. The trustees have solicited Requests for Proposals to three banks and a management company but will need voters to approve a warrant article authorizing the change. Selectmen approved submitting the proposed article to town counsel for inclusion on the March 2015 town warrant.

Another law change also allows trustees to appoint alternates and the board agreed to advertise for them.

Andre Garron of the UNH Cooperative Extension Business Retention and Expansion Program made a presentation to selectmen of a program that the town Economic Development Committee would like to implement in Wolfeboro this fall. The three-step plan would involve developing a team to develop and survey and visit local businesses, compile the results and implement goals to retain and expand existing companies, which survey show create 60 percent of all new jobs. The board supported the proposal and voted to allocate half of the $1,500 fee to 2014 and include the other half in the 2015 budget.

In view of town offices being closed the week prior to the first meeting in August to allow staff to move to temporary offices at Huggins, selectmen agreed to cancel the first August meeting and hold only one meeting that month, on Aug. 20.

The board approved continuing with a level-funding approach to setting the 2015 budget.

Town Manager Dave Owen gave an update on Town Hall renovation planning and the setup of temporary offices at Huggins Hospital. A notice of the move schedule and an aerial view of where the offices are located at Huggins has been posted on the home page of the town website.

Owen reported that there will be a ribbon cutting at the new Parks and Recreation maintenance building on Tuesday afternoon, July 8, and that Employee Appreciation Day has been set for Friday, Sept. 5.

Insurance carrier Primex has sent the town a notice of a $50,147 premium holiday or rebate on its unemployment compensation insurance.

Owen said that the town has filed a claim with the bankrupt contractor on the maintenance building and that Requests for Proposals are in preparation for assessing services for next year, when the townwide revaluation will be completed.

Albee Beach access road has been posted for no parking. If cars are not moved after a warning by lifeguards, they will be towed.

Bids have been received for fuel contracts for July 1, 2014, through June 30, 2015, at prices levels Owen described as "pretty stable."

The Conservation Commission informed the board that it has contracted with Student Conservation Association to construct trails in the Bill Rae Conservation Area at Sargents Pond and at Front Bay Park.

Selectmen held public hearings to accept a $7,448 Highway Safety Grant to increase DWI patrols and to grant an event permit for the Kingswood Youth Center to hold its annual Chili Cookoff contest on Aug. 16.

The board heard a report on the recently completed Phase II of the Harriman Hill Affordable Housing project.

The next meeting of the Wolfeboro Board of Selectmen will be on Wednesday, July 16, at 6:30 p.m. in the Wolfeboro

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