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Joyce Endee

Selectmen don't discuss filling empty seat

September 14, 2011
ALTON — The Alton Board of Selectmen met on Tuesday, Sept. 6, and chose not to discuss filling the open seat on the board of selectmen.

Nine citizens submitted their names to the town as replacements and that list includes: Harold M. Bothwick, Jr., Jeffrey Clay, Marc DeCoff, Jonathan H. Downing, Robert Longabaugh, Stephen Miller, Eric Pelchat, Dean Puzzo and William Ryan.

Town Administrator Russ Bailey was unavailable for comment on whether the topic would be on the agenda for the next selectmen's meeting, and as of press time the topic is listed on the agenda for the Sept. 19 meeting.

Bailey and the board were questioned about the policy on putting town officials on paid administrative leave during an investigation period, which happened with former police Lt. Richard Vanderhoof.

The board and Bailey chose not to comment, saying that their legal counsel had been told that they couldn't comment on the issue.

Dave Dolan came before the board and asked the board to look into the blockages of right of way on the surrounding area of Smith Point in West Alton.

This is the second straight meeting that citizens from West Alton have asked the town to get involved in the blockage of apparent right of ways that have been used for many, many years.

Dolan asked that his comments be put on the record, for he is worried that he won't be around when the topic is discussed officially, as he is a "snowbird."

Chairman Dave Hussey asked that Dolan put his comments in writing, and then Bill Fauver, who requested an appointment to discuss the issue at this meeting, objected.

Fauver claimed that he submitted an appointment request the night of the last meeting and it was denied, asking for more information.

Hussey and the rest of the board assured Dolan that this issue would be coming forward to the board in the form of an appointment before he departs for the winter months.

The board approved several items, including a pair of bids on the handicapped access ramp for the town hall, a special event application and a request by the fire department to purchase new stretchers, with about one-third of the monies already raised through fundraisers.

The board also approved equipping the police department with new firearms from SIG for "no additional cost."

It was pointed out that one of the police officers works for SIG and is trained with their equipment.

A question was raised about additional training, and the Bailey said that there would be no additional cost in relation to replacing the guns.

Brian Fortier of the West Alton Marina asked the board about the status of the West Alton Fire Station, after hearing a rumor that it may be closing.

Fortier's grandfather, Harold Cluff, donated the land and helped the West Alton Fire Station get built, and Fortier showcased his displeasure in the fact that the town has let the building go through poor maintenance.

Fortier reported that when the building was built in 1955, a lease was drawn up saying that the town would pay his grandfather $1 a year, and he joked that the payment has been received.

Hussey said that the board will be looking into this issue and will report back their findings.

Bailey reviewed the 2011 budget and with no surprise, the town is over on its legal budget.

Bailey announced that FEMA isn't awarding funding to Belknap County from the hurricane damage, and that the issue of the Reed Road Bridge in West Alton near 11D is being looked into.

It was suggested that the Reed Road Bridge was built by the water company, and that they should pay for the rebuilding of it.

Steve Parker asked the town to consider publishing a police report with names, as opposed to a generic report with no names listed.

Hussey and the board said that the department does it this way because they are afraid of legal action from citizens who ended up being cleared on different issues.

The board agreed to forward a request to change the speed limit near Sandy Point to the State of New Hampshire Department of Transportation after a lengthy discussion.

Selectman Loring Carr felt forwarding this request forward will open a can of worms where everyone will come before the board and ask that the speed limit be changed.

The board approved purchasing propane from Fred Fuller Oil for a fixed price of $2.19 a gallon.

Raymond Howard suggested that the board reconsider locking in fixed prices at this time.

The next scheduled Alton Board of Selectmen meeting is scheduled for Monday, Sept 19, at 6 p.m. at the Alton Town Hall.

Tim Croes can be reached at tcroes@salmonpress.com or 569-3126

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