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Joyce Endee

Bond, petition articles cover options for Center Harbor police space needs

February 16, 2011
CENTER HARBOR — Town officials are reviewing different bond options for the proposed police station, while a petition article will be on the ballot calling for a significantly smaller option.

On Wednesday, the Board of Selectmen held a public hearing on the bond for the proposed police station. As of the meeting the town had estimates from the New Hampshire Municipal Bond Bank, USDA Rural Development and Meredith Village Savings Bank with estimates pending from Laconia Savings Bank.

As they were last year, the board is leaning toward going with a 30 year bond from Rural Development that will have a payment of $71,160 a year with a possible tax impact of $45 a year to someone with a $300,000 property. This does include no prepayment penalty, as board members said they wanted to keep an option of possible early payments when feasible.

The town will look into possible grants for the station, which could total up to $65,000 for different aspects of the station if it passes.

Discussion also took place on what would happen with the Brooks Property by the Morrill Park property. Former Selectman Bob Beem said the property was originally bought with consideration for potential space and office needs but not for a specific purpose, such as the construction of a police station.

Board Chair Richard Drenkhahn said considerations could be given to options such as selling the property or demolishing the house to create more park space.

When asked what other facility projects the town might face in the next 30 years, Selectman Randy Mattson said the Space Needs Committee found the Police Department was the most in need of space. The sand/salt shed was also on the list, but that project has already been paid for. Selectman Charley Hanson said moving the Police Department out of the Municipal Building could address some town space needs by freeing up a significant amount of space.

"The Police Department not only has taken out the room, (the building has) lost the bay where the cruiser parks," Mattson said.

The town received a petition warrant article calling for the town to solicit bids for a 1,000 square foot by 1,500 square foot addition to the existing municipal building to meet the needs of the Police Department as outlined in the MRI report released in 2002. The article also calls for engaging the contractor in a fixed price not to exceed $350,000 to design and build the required facilities and/or the addition. This article also carries the provision that work on any other expansion and location for a police station other than what is provided in this article will be discontinued.

According to the minutes of the Feb. 2 budget hearing, the proposed Police Station Bond is $1,275 million for 2011 with $75,000 coming from the Public Safety Facility Capital Reserve Fund and the remaining amount being bonded. A separate warrant article will be on the ballot for the $199,000 purchase of the McCahan property, on which the station is proposed. If the article for the police department bond passes, the $199,000 will be included in the bond. If the police bond does not pass but the property purchase does, the $199,000 will be funded through taxation.

According to the minutes, Michelle Clark, Auditor with the Department of Revenue Administration said if the petition article passed, the amount would come directly out of general taxation, but an amendment could be made from the floor of town meeting to take $350,000 from the fund balance of the Public Safety Capital Reserve Fund if funds are available. If this article and the $1.275 million bond article pass, both articles will be counted by the DRA and come from general taxation. If the petition article is not carried out, the $350,000 goes back into the general fund.

Martin Lord & Osman
Salmon Press
Garnett HIll
Varney Smith
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