Selectmen agree to review roads with Susan Weeks Friday
May 14, 2009
TUFTONBORO — As suggested by Tuftonboro Board of Selectman Chair Dan Duffy, former selectman Susan Weeks followed up last week's discussion of her concerns regarding the recently updated road classification list submitted to the Department of Transportation (DOT) with a letter to the board detailing specific discrepancies she has discovered. The board discussed the letter at its May 11 meeting.
Weeks began with an explanation of her qualifications, at the behest of her husband, who she said felt it was important for the public to know the basis of experience from which she speaks. She does mapping and research for a living, has worked for surveyors, engineers and attorneys in property and road issues for almost 40 years, and has served as an expert witness for the town.
Weeks said that taxpayers are entitled to rely on the town's list, so its accuracy is critical. Errors can be expensive, she added.
She said that she recognized that the rationale in classifying a road as Class V rather than Class VI is that more block grant revenue is generated from the state, but she noted that the total of $71,517 to be received by Tuftonboro is only increased by $1,430, or two per cent and reminded the board that everyone's taxes are linked to classification and that a Class V classification gives a property owner the right to develop his land.
She suggested that the board "contact the state and put the list on hold until we can go through the list again…A lot is open for debate." She also said that in her opinion, the law is complicated and legal advice may be needed along the way. "I'd like to sit down with the information and maps and explain some of my concerns," she told the board. Everyone was in agreement.
Selectman Carolyn Sundquist noted that there is more than one list, and commented, "Wouldn't it be great to have them all consolidated?" Weeks said that she would like to help with that, and Duffy said, "I have no problem with that at all." The group promptly set aside this Friday, May 15, from 10 a.m. to noon to work on perfecting the list. The worksession is open to the public.
Codes officer Jack Parsons reported that he has issued 22 building permits so far this year. There are three new homes in the works, and he has completed 112 inspections. He also wanted to remind people once again that standing water in tires is a breeding ground for mosquitoes and ask that residents remove any standing water that has collected in their yards.
He also has been visiting Bill Holmes' property to check on his progress in getting rid of unregistered vehicles from his property. Holmes is accumulating fines for each day he is not in compliance with the town's rules on storage of unregistered vehicles and has been constructing a building to house some of his collection. Parson says that the building is about half up and that Holmes has been steadily removing assorted vehicles.
The board has a letter in hand from Susan Slack, attorney for Holmes' neighbor. Slack has raised the issue of the classification of junk yards. Selectman Bill Stockman commented that there are quite a few grey areas and described the matter as complex. He said, "If you come down hard on one person, then what do you do about another?" The selectmen have sought and received advice from Town Counsel Richard Sager, and are required to respond to Slack's letter in 30 days. In the meantime, Holmes' June deadline to clear his property is fast approaching.
Fire Rescue Chief Adam Thompson announced that he is welcoming a new call fireman, Craig Sontra, to the department and said that he has old equipment that he would like to get into the appropriate hands, either by sale or by donation to smaller departments that might find the department's discards useful. The selectmen encouraged him either way.
Tax Collector Jackie Rollins brought five deeded properties to the attention of the board for decisions. They voted to claim two properties that are currently vacant; another paid their back taxes just prior to the meeting, leaving two other properties to consider. The board decided to send a letter notifying the occupants of imminent eviction unless taxes are paid. Duffy said he would give Sager a call to make sure that they were proceeding properly.
Time-Warner Cable has eliminated Channel 4, WBZ, much to the consternation of citizens, according to Sundquist. The board voted to write a letter for the record to the company, informing them of the discontent.
The recycling committee and selectmen met with transfer station personnel last week for the first time.
Sundquist's research revealed that a 1991 state law banned smoking in public buildings, making a town ordinance redundant.
Duffy said that the planning board met with Mike Izard, Principal Planner of the Lakes Region Planning Commission, to discuss the master plan and "a reasonable and realistic plan" for work force housing.
Ted Bense said he would like to give notice to the community that there will be a hazardous waste collection at the Wolfeboro Transfer Station on Beach Pond Road this Saturday, May 16, from 8:30 a.m. to noon. The fee for a family, which will be reimbursed by the town, are $40 for regular collection.
The Tuftonboro Community Garden has eight plots left at $60 for the season. Tony Lyons, chairman of the Agricultural Commission, reported that a total of 44 plots have been harrowed, manured and plowed. Any one interested in using a lot this year may call Lyons at 515-0019.
Lyons also reported that Tamsen Hunter, a teacher at Tuftonboro Central School, and the Principal, Kathy Koukal, have 16 students signed up to work two plots with their parents to raise produce.
Rich Piper, a commercial trash hauler, raised questions about the difference in contractor versus homeowner fees at the transfer station. He is looking for clarity in order to set his prices for his customers. The selectmen said they would study the situation and have answers in a couple of weeks.
The next scheduled selectmen's meeting is next Monday, May 18, at 7 p.m.