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Sundquist elected Tuftonboro board chair

March 25, 2010
TUFTONBORO — The Tuftonboro Board of Selectman has a new chairman. With a successful town meeting behind them, and the reelection of Dan Duffy to the board, members passed the title of chairman to Carolyn Sundquist at the March 22 meeting.

A committee is forming to collect and study information relating to compensation of town employees with a September deadline in mind. Sundquist brought forward the names of Linda Madeiros, John Simms, Wanda Harris and Darlene McWhirter for consideration, but progress was stalled by a discussion initiated by Simms on the possible conflict of interest posed by having McWhirter, a town employee, on the committee.

Simms suggested that the presence of an employee, who would be affected by the outcome might "contaminate the perception of independence." McWhirter's husband, Bob, spoke in favor of having employee representation whomever that might be and said that he thought the board should consider including a department head.

Sundquist said that she did not see a conflict of interest, for the committee will be collecting information and will not be making decisions in regard to benefits. The budget committee ultimately makes those decisions. Bob McWhirter then suggested that perhaps a budget committee member should be part of the group. Sundquist replied that previous invitations had not been accepted by any budget committee members.

The matter was left with Sundquist planning to seek advice from town counsel before further discussion of goals and membership at the board's work session scheduled for Friday, March 26, at 10 a.m. at the town offices.

Fire and Rescue report

Chief Adam Thompson reported 169 calls for service to date and brought names of two volunteers interested in joining the department; Hannah Croteau and Rafe Longuer. He also said that the department had expended about $1,200 of its Emergency Management section of a 50/50 forestry grant and is anticipating reimbursement.

Drainage issues at the Melvin Station are under control, according to Thompson, but the Mirror Lake station is another story. Water is coming in through the back foundation, and two inches of water have collected in the bathroom.

Thompson also warned that a new pump, which can cost from $6,000 to $8,000, may be in order for the fire boat in the future, for the present pump is losing its prime. Until then, the present pump will be repaired with parts from another. Thompson reassured the board that the department is able to continue to protect the islands.

Carroll County Transit

Malcolm Longenecker of the Carroll County Transit Project, a program of the Tri-County Community Action agency, showed the board a map of the proposed public transit routes scheduled to begin in July. Passengers will ride on blue busses of two sizes: one with seating for eight and two wheelchair passengers; the other with seating for 16 and two wheelchair passengers.

The service will include not only public transit from Memorial Hospital in North Conway to West Ossipee and West Ossipee to Huggins Hospital in Wolfeboro, ending at the Railroad Station, four times a day, but will also feature a commuter route from West Ossipee to Laconia two times a day.

In addition, there will be a demand/response service to bring people to the main route from as much as a quarter mile away and medical transport in cars driven by volunteers. Both require 24-hour advance notice.

The program is primarily for seniors and the disabled, but all ages are welcome to use the Monday through Friday service. Passengers may ride for as little as $2. Demand/response service costs from $3 to $7, with senior fares one dollar less. Medical transport will cost $15 per hour of driving time.

The NH Department of Transportation allocated $540,000 of American Recovery and Reinvestment funds for the purchase of the eight new buses for the Carroll County Transit Project.

Other business

Lee White of the Tuftonboro Association asked selectmen to sign an application to join the Litter Free New Hampshire program, which offers free blue trash bags for roadside cleanup and a choice of 400 daffodils, 50 lilacs, or three blight-resistant American Liberty Elm trees to participants. The Association is hosting a roadside cleanup on May 1.

The board reported that it met with road agent Jim Bean to discuss recent bills relating to storm damage cleanup. The department is still under budget.

The recently-completed audit showed a remainder of $227,000 from last year's budget.

Selectman Bill Stockman, representative to the Conservation Commission, said that discussion of a Great Meadows easement, including 175 acres of town land, is well under way. The land is an important aquifer and the easement is drawing support from the Wolfeboro/Tuftonboro Land Bank and the Dan Hole Watershed Trust.

Duffy said that the diver-assisted milfoil harvesting program will be enlisting spotters and divers to help in eradication of the invasive weed and noted that the cost per hour depends on the number of volunteers. A committee will be forming soon.

Anyone who is dissatisfied with Time-Warner's cable service is encouraged to write to the company and send a copy of correspondence to the selectmen. Documentation is important, said Sundquist, and a committee of interested residents will form on this matter also.

Duffy said that he has heard that the Veteran's Administration Hospital in Tilton could use some help, and suggested that town's veterans, who receive a $500 tax exemption, join him in going down to help in any way they can. He plans to contact the VA to find out what would be of the most help.

A work session is scheduled for Friday, March 26, at 10 a.m. at the town offices. The next regular selectman's meeting is set for Monday, April 5, at 7 p.m., also at the town offices.

Martin Lord Osman
Littleton Chmber
Varney Smith
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