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No changes made to warrant at Wolfeboro Deliberative Session

THE 2017 DELIBERATIVE SESSION took place in the Great Hall on Feb. 7. Twenty-eight articles will be under consideration on Election Day, March 14. Moderator Randy Walker is at upper left, followed by Town Clerk Pat Waterman, Finance Director Peter Chamberlain, Town Manager Dave Owen, Town Attorney Mark Puffer, Selectmen Chair Brad Harriman, Vice Chair Luke Freudenberg, and Selectmen Linda Murray, Dave Senecal and Dave Bowers. In the lower front row are Budget Committee members John Burt, Steve Johnson, Brian Black, Chairman John MacDonald, Bob Tougher and Bob Loughman (Harold Parker and Bob Moholland were not present). (Elissa Paquette photo) (click for larger version)
February 11, 2017
WOLFEBORO — The 2017 Deliberative Session on Tuesday evening, February 2 in the Great Hall included presentations from department heads on the $26 million dollar operating budget for 2017, and a number of infrastructure improvements and capital reserve appropriations.

Public Works Director Dave Ford spoke to warrants to appropriate funds for town road and drainage system upgrades ($750,000), an upgrade of the Mast Landing parking lot, including improvements for pedestrian byways and stormwater treatment ($170,000), the Dockside Boat Ramp ($90,000) and an additional authorization for the Center St. Reconstruction Project.

$2.1 million was raised by a vote in 2013 for the reconstruction of Center St. from South Main St. to Wolfeboro Falls, but the Middleton Road improvement project delayed the project by two years. At this point, the project is estimated to cost $543,333 over the original estimate. That includes $140,000 for roadwork, $360,000 for handling contaminated soil and groundwater and $53,333 for contingencies.

The current estimate is $2,643,333 with completion expected by October 2018. The NH Department of Transportation will fund two-thirds of the cost of readwork; NHDES will reimburse the cost of handing contaminated soil and groundwater, leaving the amount of $100,000 to be raised by general taxation.

Article 9 asks for approval to raise and appropriate $30,000 to develop a wastewater colleciton system asset management plan, which will serve to §§qualify the town for federal and state funds and authorize the board apply for and accept grants or other funds that may reduce the amount to be repaid by $30,000. It therefore does not have an impact on the tax rate.

The warrant before the voters also includes appropriations of $170,000 to be added to the existing Public Works Vehicles and Equipment Capital Reserve Fund, $125,000 for the Wastewater Treatment Plant Capital Reserve Fund, and $50,000 for the Building Maintenance Capital Reserve Fund, which is used for making repairs and maintenance to any of the town's 23 building facilities.

Ford pointed out that last year equipment that did not meet code had to be replaced at Dockside. He said he was able to use money from the capital reserve to respond to the need.

The selectmen are asking for authorization to enter into a 10 year lease extension with Garwoods, Inc. for the Dockside Restaurant Building. The town plans to add public bathrooms to the building and make structural repairs inside, to be funded from the Building Maintenance Capital Reserve.

Questions from audience members on the wisdom of extending the lease for that length of time brought forth a response from the board that Garwoods has proven to be a good tenant, following poor experiences with other leasees in the past. The arrangement brings in about $36,000 of revenue annually. When asked for the rationale of keeping the building, Selectman Dave Bowers pointed out that the property is tied in with Cate Park and the town docks; if the building was to be sold, the town would have no control over that essential parcel.

Electric Department head Barry Muccio spoke on Article 14, which asks that the town vote to raise and appropriate $145,000 from the Electric Enterprise Fund, for survey and design work in preparation for reconstruction of the aging 390 line that feeds the town's electric power supply from Tuftonboro to Wolfeboro. Muccio said the 3.6 mile line, which extends from the Tuftonboro/Wolfeboro town line to the former substation on Glendon St., was built in 1964.

James Pineo, Fire Rescue Department Chief, noted that the Fire Trucks and Apparatus Replacement Capital Reserve Fund request for $122,000 is down from the $186,000 appropriation last year. That was accomplished, said Pineo, by putting together a complete utility package for $86,000 in lieu of the $155,000 truck scheduled in the program.

He explained that the department identified weaknesses in response areas and built a package based on the need to improve access to off road areas. The resulting package includes a Chevrolet pick up truck and a Polaris Ranger, each with their own individual forestry skid units and fire fighting capability, a Ski Doo ACE Skandic, a boat trailer and a UTV trailer. The 2003 Ford Utility truck and 2000 Ski-Doo, valued together at $18,000 were traded in.

Two articles pertain to contract agreements. The two year AFSCME (American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees) contract shows an increase of $53,700 for the upcoming year and $57,811 the next. Suzanne Ryan asked for some of the "gives and takes" in the negotiating process. Town Manager Dave Owen said the reclassification study defined minimums and maximums for new pay raises and increased the number of step increases from 12 to 18, which has the effect of making the step increases smaller.

The Police Union contract agreement reached with Local 339 of the New England Police Benenvolent Association asks for an increased appropriation of $39,450 for the upcoming fiscal year at current staffing levels. The increase agreed to for the following year is $38,366.

The warrant is posted on the town's website for perusal. Voting will take place in the Great Hall on March 14.

Please see related stories on the Deliberative Session on page A7.

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