Wolfeboro has 15th lowest tax rate in state
Town expresses interest in purchasing former Bun McBride property
February 10, 2011WOLFEBORO — Selectmen were informed at their Feb. 3 meeting that the town in 2010 had the 22nd lowest tax rate in the state and, if the seven unincorporated towns (such as Hart's and Hale's Locations were removed), it had the 15th lowest, according to data gathered by Town Planner Rob Houseman from the N.H. Department of Revenue Administration (DRA).
In the same listing by tax rate, again excluding unincorporated towns, Tuftonboro was eighth lowest, Wakefield was 17th and Brookfield was 42nd. Moultonborough was the lowest. New Hampshire has 234 cities and towns.
The first regular selectmen's meeting in February was delayed a day by the snowstorm that struck on Wednesday. The location of the meeting on Thursday was also moved from the library to the Town Hall meeting room, now handicapped-accessible due to the addition of a ramp last fall.
In addition to discussing SB 94, new legislation filed by Senator Jeb Bradley and District 4 Reps Chris Ahlgren and Dave Knox requiring certified community residences to submit to zoning board review (see separate story), selectmen approved Town Manager Dave Owen's request to negotiate with Don McBride, the Executor of the Estate of Bernard "Bun" McBride, to hire an appraiser jointly to come up with a fair value for the property at 255 South Main St., which lies between the library and the public safety building.
Josephine Amatucci, who is the author of Article 15, a petition warrant article proposing to build town offices on land on the other side of the library that had been acquired by library trustees for library expansion, criticized the wording of Owen's Nov. 30, 2010, letter to Executor McBride because it stated, "The Town has had an interest in acquiring this property for several years now for purposes of both the Library expansion project and improving the egress drive for the Public Safety Building," and further stated that negotiations would include agreement on "any other conditions the parties may wish to make."
Amatucci has steadfastly maintained that a restriction in the deed to the Ida Glidden lot acquired by library trustees did not rule out using the lot for other than library purposes, and was angry that the Town Manager was implying that restrictions would be placed on the McBride lot as well.
Amatucci also gave selectmen a copy of a letter from Attorney Thomas Dewhurst, who was recently elected Carroll County Attorney, that she says indicates a Town Hall can be built on the Glidden lot. Selectman Chair Linda Murray agreed to turn the letter over to town counsel.
Town Manager Owen informed selectmen that the Fire Department's ladder truck has been repaired and returned to service after being out of action for six months following an accident at the fire station. The front end loader that broke down while removing snow on Lehner Street has also been repaired; in view of continuing heavy snowfalls, the board gave permission to retain a rental loader a while longer to aid downtown snow removal.
Following a review by Town Counsel Mark Puffer, the board voted to accept the results of perambulations of the town line between Wolfeboro and Brookfield, performed by Nate Fogg and approved by the Brookfield Board of Selectmen, and the town line between New Durham and Wolfeboro, performed by White Mountain Survey and approved by the New Durham Board of Selectmen. The Brookfield-Wolfeboro survey failed to find two markers, though the line was clear enough and the missing locations were mapped. Selectman Chair Murray had to abstain for the vote on the New Durham-Wolfeboro perambulation since the town line goes through her house on New Garden Road.
Selectmen accepted Town Clerk Pat Waterman's recommendation that a $15 recording fee be charged for the new affidavit required of landlords providing the name, address, and telephone number of an agent who can accept legal process against the rental property. This was part of a change in the law allowing liens to be placed against a property for unpaid building code violations.
Waterman also advised the board that the Town Clerks Association is opposed to legislation proposing to allow new car dealers to process car registrations. The chief concerns are with potential fraud and the inability of the town to make sure that all registration revenue due to the town is turned over.
The board authorized PLM Electric Power Engineering, the town's electricity consultant, to prepare a Request for Proposals for a five-year "blend and extend" contract for electric power. Currently the town's Municipal Electric Company is paying a cost for power that is higher than current future contracts, based on prices agreed in a contract written in 2008. A "blend and extend" contract would replace the last three years of the current contract with a new contract at a lower rate, in return for paying a slightly higher rate than projected for the two years beyond the current contract. The net result would be lower electric bills for electric customers over the next three years.
After holding the required two public hearings the board voted to grant an easement for an already-installed water line under town land providing service to 245 South Main St.