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Tuftonboro library trustees discuss planning issues with selectmen

April 28, 2011
TUFTONBORO — Just what should happen next to address Tuftonboro's infrastructure needs? A series of no votes on various options presented at Town Meetings past and most recently, leaves the Board of Selectmen pondering the next steps to resolve the fire, police and library building needs.

Chairman of the Tuftonboro Library Board of Trustees Tina Antonucci, accompanied by trustee Paul Matlock, brought up the question in regard to the library building project, which is on indefinite hold. The trustees contacted the architect who designed the plan for the new library building to determine the cost of converting the current library for use as the town's police station.

Antonucci reported that the architect could give an estimate with many contingencies for around $2,000 or do a full design and provide a project cost estimate for $8,000 to $10,000. She said the building is not built to support a second story that could bear the weight of library books and materials, but a second story could be added to accommodate police department use.

The answer to the question of the cost of conversion to a police station would figure into future plans for fire and police department space needs. Antonucci asked if town funds remained for such a study, and suggested that if not, the library could put up the money and be paid back when the new library was built.

Selectman Carolyn Sundquist said that Fire Chief Adam Thompson had also inquired about funding, and answered that about $50,000 remains for such purposes until the end of the year.

The three selectmen decided to meet on Friday, April 29, at 10:30 a.m. in the town offices building for a work session to hash out options to move forward on solving the departments' space needs.

As for library activity, Antonucci reported circulation of 9,851 items this year through March, with books highest in volume; and 132 computer users and 18 netbook users in the past month in addition to numerous wireless communication users.

The Friends of the Tuftonboro Free Library continue to work on fundraisers to support the building fund. On Saturday, May 28, there will be a yard sale on site from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Rental of tables and space to sell one's wares are set at $15 and $10 respectively. Reservations may be made with a call to the library at 569-4256.

Also on the schedule, with full details available via the library link on the Tuftonboro Town Website, are the annual plant sale on June 11 and the annual Book and Bake Sale, which will be held at the Tuftonboro Central School this year.

The selectmen added Patti Nisbet and Patrick Laase to the list of volunteers interested in serving on the town's milfoil committee. They join Fran Laase, Steve Wingate, Bill Marcussen and Russ Baerenklau.

SB 156

Town clerk Heather Cubeddu passed along a letter from the Katherine Dawson of the Tilton Board of Selectmen suggesting that governing bodies across the state need to contact their state representatives with information on the negative impact to towns of SB 156.

Dawson cited the time added to the workload as town clerks and deputies have to call the MAAP to straighten out mistakes made by untrained car dealers, and said that if the bill passes it would also increase labor costs accounting for the monthly deposits and town audits on each dealership. She also raised an alarm that a dealership collecting the town taxes for a registration could hold the town's monies for up to 20 days, and "unless the town allows each dealership to electronically send in payments to the town accounts, this would be a breach of security. The bill also allows dealerships to opt out of this program but does not allow towns the same option."

Camp payments in lieu of taxes

Chairman Bill Stockman said that tax assessor Dave Wiley noted that the five camps in Tuftonboro occupy valuable property and receive town services but are exempt from property taxes. In light of that, he inquired how the board would like to address the matter.

Stockman said that the town reports used to contain a list of exemptions and suggested that the practice be continued. While all the camps receive fire, police and rescue services paid for by the taxpayers and some have begun to use the transfer station since the costs of private trash collection went up, not all have given donations to the town.

While the camps used to be summer only, now some have year round programs and their staff cottages are occupied all year round. Some also have erected major buildings and rent out facilities.

Stockman and Sundquist mentioned that the camps' use of their land keeps it from being subdivided and further developed, thereby maintaining the rural qualities townsfolk treasure, but agreed that the issue needs to be addressed. No decision on how to proceed was made.

Cable franchise negotiations

The April 16 ascertainment hearing on Time Warner service to its customers drew around 30 residents, but cable committee head Joe Kowalski expressed frustration that Time Warner did not send a representative to the meeting. "I'd like us to sit down together at one table," said Kowalski. "I've talked to the FCC, the state, the lawyer, and we're shoveling against the tide. We need to have a heart to heart discussion." He said there were terms such as linear mile and bundling that need to be clarified and said that language in the contract needs to changed before the contract is renewed in the fall.

The selectmen agreed that the next step would be to have Sundquist call the town's lawyer.

Selectmen's updates

Sundquist said that Dan Barnard had come in during her office hours to suggest some changes for next year's town meeting. One would be to change the meeting to a Saturday rather than a week night; another would be to look into wiring the school to handle an overflow crowd. Sundquist said that the last meeting was over capacity. Standing room only capacity is different from the acceptable number when the audience is seated.

Barnard also suggested changing voting time on election day to coincide with federal elections – 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Sundquist will be available for residents on Friday May 6, but the hours will be later in the day, and she will not hold her regularly scheduled Friday hours on May 13.

The next meeting of the board is scheduled for May 2, at 7 p.m., in the town offices building.

North Country Environmental
Martin Lord Osman
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