Selectmen honor three for their public service
Resident complains about poor road maintenance
April 15, 2010
WOLFEBORO — Selectmen took time during their April 7 meeting to recognize three public officials for their years of service – John Burt, Kristi Ginter and Ben Ladd.
Burt was thanked for his 15 years on the Wolfeboro Budget Committee. In accepting the recognition and the plaque that went with it from Selectman Chair Linda Murray, Burt said he appreciated the experience for its insights into the working of town government and opportunity to work with "fine people." He added, with tongue in cheek, that he did not remember seeing funds for his plaque in the budget. Murray said the funds came from the selectmen's Miscellaneous budget.
Ladd was also thanked by Police Chief Stuart Chase for his service, guidance and support for five years on the Wolfeboro Police Commission. "Ben saved thousands on vehicle maintenance on our seven and a half vehicles," Chase said.
Ladd responded that it was an honor to be recognized. Looking around he remarked that he has been working with the town for 25 years and had had dealings with "just about everyone in this room on town business."
Ginter was not present to accept her plaque, given in recognition of her two years as selectman.
Selectmen also signed letters of thanks to the six members and two alternates on the Historic District Commission. The commission was abolished by voters in the March elections.
Roessiger on the roads
Resident Claude Roessiger spoke at the meeting's first public input session about the state of town roads. He asked if the highway department had been asked to make emergency repairs on North Wolfeboro Road or Stoddard Road or whether any of the selectmen have driven these roads. "How do you account for the extreme deterioration of the roads in Wolfeboro?" he challenged. "Are you aware that it used to be common practice to top off low spots on roads?"
Selectman Sarah Silk responded that the rising cost of paving has limited that activity. Murray added that since she and Silk had come on the board of selectmen, the funding of road repairs and improvements has been made a separate warrant article, instead of being buried in the operating budget, and that this year the funding had been increased from $400,000 to $550,000.
Roessiger said residents would be willing to pay for the work that needed to be done on the two roads mentioned, and then deduct that amount from their taxes.
Town Manager Dave Owen said the proposed arrangement was not something that the town could do. He also pointed out that Public Works Director Dave Ford was not present to respond.
Roessiger said he was not there to berate the board but rather to ask for help. "We no longer seem to know how to grade dirt roads and this is a serious issue that needs the board's attention." He lamented what he described as "the utter collapse of highway maintenance in Wolfeboro." [See Roessiger's letter to the editor on this subject on page A13.]
Later in the meeting Murray said she hasn't seen any difference in the way the town has maintained dirt roads over the past 30 years. Silk observed that town employees having been doing culvert work on town roads, which takes them away from road grading.
Selectmen made appointments to four town boards and committees.
Alan Harding was reappointed to a three-year term on the Zoning Board of Adjustment. No one applied for a three-year appointment as an alternate to that board, so that position is still open.
Ed Roundy was reappointed and Gail Antonucci appointed to three-year terms as members of the Conservation Commission, which also has openings for alternates.
Charlie Horsken and Mark Lush were reappointed for three-year terms on the Agricultural Commission and Antonucci was reappointed as an alternate for the same term.
Mary DeVries, Frank Giebutowski and Tony Triolo were reappointed for three-year terms on the Economic Development Committee.
No one had applied for the two positions on the Carroll County Transportation Advisory Council, so Selectman Dave Senecal, who attends the meetings, agreed to represent the town.
Goals and Master Plan
Selectmen reviewed and updated six pages of tasks assigned to them from the town's Master Plan. From there they went on to discuss their goals and objectives for 2010. Murray proposed the following seven goals: 1) address the situation with town offices and Town Hall; 2) complete the municipal asset inventory and assessment and develop a repair and maintenance plan; 3) proceed with planning for expanding the Glendon Street parking lot to the site just acquired by the town; 4) plan long-range transportation improvements, including Route 28; 5) develop a road bonding policy for contractors using town roads; 6) create a water improvements capital reserve; and 7) create a sewer improvements capital reserve. Senecal and Selectman Marge Webster said they felt the Town Hall is included in the municipal assets inventory and didn't need a separate goal. Murray, Silk and Selectman Chuck Storm disagreed.
Selectmen proclaimed the week of April 17-24 as Earth Week (see separate story on page A6).
Town Planner Rob Houseman updated the board on the status of Town Hall repairs approved by voters in March. He said AG Architects is designing the handicapped ramp and he is preparing bid documents for all of the work involved. He expressed his concern about whether the funds voted would be sufficient to cover all items, especially those cited by the state Department of Labor. He said his focus was on the Americans with Disabilities Act issues, weather tightness and repairs related to life safety.
Selectmen also received updates from the Pathways Committee and the Energy Committee, which will be reported next week, along with the discussion surrounding the renewal of the license for the Wolfeboro Area Farmers' Market to use Clark Park.
The board approved 12 temporary event permits.
Storm reported that planning board approved two cell tower installations: one on the water tower and a second at Pierce Camp Birchmont.
Silk said she gave a presentation on household hazardous waste disposal and announced that hazardous waste disposal in Wolfeboro would resume on the third Saturday morning of the month beginning in May. A special pesticide disposal will be held on June 12. Silk also reported that a second hazardous waste disposal facility was being considered for the west side of lake.
Murray reported that hand pulling and suction harvesting of milfoil would take place in Back Bay and Wolfeboro Bay on June 7-11. Another pulling session would be scheduled later in the summer, depending on the results of the first session.
The next meeting of the board of selectmen will be on Wednesday, April 21, at 6:30 p.m. at the Wolfeboro Public Library meeting room.