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Murray elected Wolfeboro selectmen chair

SELECTMEN GET TO WORK. In their first regular meeting since town elections, Wolfeboro’s Board of Selectmen reorganized and distributed committee assignments among themselves. Seated are (l-r) newly-elected Selectman Chuck Storm, Sarah Silk, Dave Senecal, Marge Webster and Linda Murray. (Thomas Beeler photo) (click for larger version)
March 25, 2010
WOLFEBORO — At the first meeting of the Board of Selectmen following the March 9 election, the board reorganized. Linda Murray was elected chairman and Sarah Silk was elected vice chairman.

Murray replaces Dave Senecal, who had served as chairman for the past year.

Selectman Marge Webster had nominated Senecal for a second term but her nomination was not seconded. Newly-elected Selectman Chuck Storm nominated Murray. Silk seconded the nomination and the vote was 3-2 in favor, with Senecal and Webster voting against. Silk's election as vice chairman was by the same margin.

Murray had been chairman for the two years preceding Senecal's election last year. The board voted to change its rules and procedures in 2008 to allow Murray to serve more than one year.

Following the board reorganization, the board made assignments of selectmen's representatives to town boards and commissions for the coming year. Webster will represent the board on the Budget Committee, the Libby Museum and the Wolfeboro Public Library trustees. She will also serve as the board's alternate to the planning board.

Storm will represent the board on the planning board, where he has served as a member and chair in the past, and the new position of Selectmen's Representative to the Wolfeboro Police Commission.

Silk will continue to represent the board on the Agriculture Commission, the Conservation Commission, the Friends of Abenaki, the Emergency Response Committee, and the Lakes Region Household Hazardous Waste Product Facility.

Senecal will continue to represent the board on the Emergency Response Committee (along with Silk) and will be the new representative to the Wolfeboro Historical Society and the Negotiations Committee.

Murray will continue to represent the board on the Capital Improvement Plan Committee, the Wolfeboro Area Chamber of Commerce, the Milfoil Eradication Committee, and Master Plan Implementation Committee, and will be the new representative to the Economic Development Committee.

Finally the board has advertised and is looking for volunteers to be appointed to the following boards and commissions: the Zoning Board of Adjustment (one member for three years and one alternate for three years); Conservation Commission (two members for three years, plus alternates); the Agricultural Commission (two members for three years and one alternate for three years); the Carroll County Transportation Advisory Council (two members for one year); and the Economic Development Committee (three members for three years).

Election results

Murray handed out a detailed analysis she did of the voting on warrant articles from 2004 through 2010. The report includes a list of the individual warrant articles by year, the vote counts and the approval percentages.

In terms of turnout, the lowest percentage of voters participating came in 2005, when an estimated 24.6 percent of registered voters showed up at the polls for town election. The high point was in 2006 when the percentage was 44.3 percent, though 2007 and 2009 were close behind at 43.1 percent each. The 2010 turnout was the second lowest at 28.5 percent.

In terms of the total amount approved by voters in warrant articles, 2010 was the third lowest, with $2,929,296 approved (excluding the operating budget). The lowest was in 2005, $501,420, when the operating budget was also rejected by voters. The second lowest was last year, 2009, when only $1,229,109 was approved. The highest year was 2007 when approved warrant articles (mainly for infrastructure) totaled $10,945,944.

Murray concluded that voter turnout depends on what is on the warrant: the more expensive or controversial the items, the higher the turnout. Her personal observation is that weather can also be a factor, with bad weather holding down the number of voters coming out.

Milfoil grant

Ken Marschener appeared before the board to ask them to sign an application to the New Hampshire Lakes Association for a grant to help fund the purchase of two Diver Assisted Suction Harvester (DASH) units. The two units would be shared by the towns of Wolfeboro, Tuftonboro and Moultonborough in their variable milfoil control programs. The grant request is for $35,000, with each of the three towns contributing another $5,000, for a total purchase price of $50,000.

One of the DASH units will be larger and more rugged for heavy-duty removal of large infestations of milfoil and the other will be smaller for use in smaller and more difficult locations.

Marschener said that Wolfeboro was now in its sixth season of combating milfoil – much farther ahead in the process than the other two towns. He said Moultonborough just voted $200,000 to begin chemical treatment in 2010. Wolfeboro's experience in Back Bay demonstrated that DASH units work well. He said there are three ways to get rid of the milfoil: hand pulling, DASH extraction and chemical treatment. Wolfeboro has employed all three methods and has found the DASH method, which involves a diver pulling the weeds and the DASH unit sucking the weeds up to the surface for collection, to be highly effective and safer than chemical treatment.

Wolfeboro currently has three five-year milfoil plans in place for treating Lake Wentworth, Crescent Lake and Back Bay. A plan for Wolfeboro Bay itself will be added this year.

Selectmen approved the proposal and signed a letter supporting the grant application.

Other business

The board approved two temporary event permits for the New Hampshire Boat Museum and Kingswood Regional High School. The boat museum permit is for the third year of model yacht sailing on Back Bay from the Bridge Falls Path every Tuesday from 1 to 4 p.m. from April 1 to Nov. 30. Mark Whitehead spoke for the museum. He said that the state had approved the group's application to put in a small dock to launch and retrieve the boats.

The Kingswood permit was for the annual Promenade at Cate Park and on the town docks on May 15, prior to boarding the M/S Mount Washington.

Public Works Director Dave Ford appeared before the board to promote Fix a Leak Week. He pointed out that a slightly leaking toilet can cost a Wolfeboro water user $2 a day by itself and up to $5 a day if the user is also on the sewer system. Lots of tips on saving water are on the EPA WaterSense Web site (www.epa.gov/WaterSense/), he said.

The next meeting of the Wolfeboro Board of Selectmen will be on Wednesday, April 7 at 6:30 p.m. in the Wolfeboro Public Library meeting room.

Littleton Chmber
Varney Smith
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