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Tuftonboro Year in Review

December 30, 2010
TUFTONBORO — Of the various matters of concern addressed throughout the year by Tuftonboro's Board of Selectmen, the decision to build a fire and safety building on the Gould property has consistently been on the front burner.

2010 also brought a focus on meeting other needs, such as developing a plan to knock back the milfoil that threatens to diminish the value of numerous waterways within the town's bounds, seeing that the Tuftonboro Farms Association's road is completed to town specifications before the unfinished road deteriorates further, and assuring that Bill Holmes' property was cleared of numerous unregistered vehicles.

A committee of citizens volunteered many hours researching and discussing the needs of the fire and police departments, public input was sought, and by the latter part of the year, the selectmen made the decision to build a facility to fully satisfy the needs of the fire department and prepare the way to create a new expanded space for the police department.

Selectmen shared conceptual plans with the public in the fall and plan to hold forums in January to gather input from citizens on the more defined plan for the new building, which would immediately serve the department upon completion. The Melvin Village and Mirror Lake stations would remain in service. With three locations, response time would be lowered throughout the service area.

The infrastructure would be in place to fulfill the police department needs for private interview rooms, processing prisoners and storing evidence in the future.

Space for training sessions for both departments is much anticipated, and the new station would bring the fire department into compliance with state safety standards.

A new library building was shot down by voters for the second time, this time by just 20 votes. The trustees set a fundraising goal to raise $250,000 from private funds while their completed plans sit on the back burner.

Milfoil control

The NH Department of Environmental Services (DES) mapped most of Tuftonboro's shorefront, a first step in developing a plan for controlling milfoil, an invasive plant that can rapidly take over, crowding out native plants and creating murky water. Pieces of the plant, broken or chopped by boat propellers, easily spread and grow.

Amy Smygula of DES reviewed her findings with selectmen, which revealed The Basin as a heavily infested body of water that, in her opinion, should be first in line for herbicidal treatment along with the docks at 19 Mile Bay. Aerial maps may be viewed on the Town of Tuftonboro's Web site.

Selectman Dan Duffy represented Tuftonboro on the Milfoil Committee, a three-town cooperative endeavor to control the spread of the plant throughout much of the Lakes Region. Members representing Moultonborough, Tuftonboro and Wolfeboro have purchased suction harvesting equipment to be used by certified divers trained on how to pull the plants up by the roots with the least amount of breakage.

The NH Lakes Association functions as the scheduler for use of the equipment and has been offering workshops to train volunteers in tending harvesting operations from the boats. Each town is required to share in the expenses and to provide volunteers, which can greatly reduce the costs.

Allowing the plant to grow unchecked can result in areas too large for effective harvesting, thus necessitating the more costly herbicidal treatment. To do nothing can also lead to decreased real estate values. Developing and funding a control and maintenance plan is the most cost effective in the long run.

Tuftonboro Farms Association

A developer's failed dream of completing the road for the 16-lot subdivision known as ZaDeDa is now the responsibility of the Tuftonboro Farms Association, led by president Dave Ford. The total estimated cost of completing the road is $46,000. A letter of credit posted by the developer for $22,300 will pay for part of the work, leaving an estimated expense of $23,700 to be borne by the lot owners and paid over a 10-year period in conjunction with their taxes. A warrant article supported by selectmen to spend the credit to complete the road will appear before voters in March. If the road is completed to town specifications as planned, it will become a town road.

Cleaning up of Bill Holmes' property

There is a saying that one man's junk is another man's treasure, and in the case of resident Bill Holmes, owner of numerous unregistered vehicles, now stored mostly under shelter in a building constructed for that purpose, what he values highly is considered unsightly junk by his neighbor, John Ratcliffe.

After years of inaction, selectmen received payment of $2,500 in fines from Holmes as he finally complied with the town's request that he clean up his property.

Ratcliffe requested and gained an abatement, following town assessor Dave Wiley's suggestion to reduce the 2009 assessed value by 19 percent to $325,000, resulting in a tax abatement of $686.50. Ratcliffe may file an appeal every year that the property is not cleaned up.

All Tuftonboro town departments will file summaries of 2010 activities for the town report, which will be available to residents prior to Town Meeting in March.

Martin Lord Osman
Varney Smith
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