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Selectmen vote to form advisory Energy Committee

July 07, 2009
ALTON — In an effort to fulfill the intent of a Warrant article passed by voters in 2007, the board of selectmen voted Monday night to form an advisory committee charged with examining energy usage in town buildings.

Town Administrator Russell Bailey informed the board that with the recent passage of legislation allowing town and city officials throughout the state to establish formal energy commissions, they had three options before them: do nothing; form an energy commission (which he said would entail statutory restrictions, such as term limits for members); or take an alternative route and seek volunteers to serve on an informal advisory committee.

Selectman Dave Hussey asked whether having a formal energy commission would open the town up to federal grants.

Bailey said there might be grant funding available that the town would find itself in a better position to lobby for with a commission in place.

Explaining that he favored the idea of an ad hoc advisory committee, board Vice Chair Peter Bolster suggested that in addition to the staff members who have already agreed to serve on an energy committee, Bailey ask for volunteers from the community.

There are a number of individuals in Alton who have expertise in the field of alternative energy, Bolster said, citing Greg True, the Executive Vice President of Lakes Region Pellets, Inc., which is preparing to open a wood pellet plant at the former Timco property in Center Barnstead.

Stating that she wouldn't object to an advisory committee, but was wary of the statutory requirements attached to a commission, Selectman Pat Fuller moved to seek volunteers for an advisory energy committee.

Her motion passed unanimously.

Anyone interested in serving on the committee is encouraged to contact Bailey at 875-0102.

Permits too pricey?

An application for a hawkers and vendors permit prompted Bolster to question Monday night whether or not the attendant fees were too excessive.

Presenting the board with an application from a local college student requesting permission to sell educational materials door-to-door through the Nashville-based Southwestern Co., Bailey reminded them that according to current policy, the cost of a hawkers and vendors permit is a $50 a day, or $500 for 30 days.

"That seems an awful lot for [someone] to have to pay out," Bolster commented, asking for an explanation of the rationale behind the fees.

"We're not doing the policy tonight," Fuller replied.

Bolster said he understood that Monday night's meeting was not the time or place to re-write policy, but felt that the permitting fees were excessive given the current state of the economy.

Bailey noted that the proprietors of White Mountain Kettle Corn were being charged $1,000 for their permit.

Bolster argued, however, that in that particular instance, the fee was justified because the town essentially leases a piece of land at the bay to White Mountain.

Selectman Loring Carr moved to grant the permit for the period between July 21 and Aug. 15, and to place the policy on an upcoming agenda. The board voted 3-1 in favor of his motion, with Bolster dissenting.

Odds and ends

In other business, the board voted to enter into an engineering agreement for the Bay Hill Road drainage project at a total cost not to exceed $1,950; approved a list of abatements and intents-to-cut submitted by the town assessor; granted a raffle permit to St. Katharine Drexel Parish for its upcoming drawing for a 1999 BMW; approved the New Hampshire Electric Co-op's application for a pole license on Ridge Road; and conditionally approved an event permit for the WOW (Winnisquam, Opeechee Winnipesaukee) Trail bike ride on Sept. 19, subject to review by the town attorney.

Next meeting

The board's next meeting has been scheduled for Monday, July 20, at 6 p.m. in Town Hall.

Brendan Berube can be reached at 569-3126 or bberube@salmonpress.com

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