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Committee updates Tamworth capital improvement plan

October 20, 2011
TAMWORTH — The Capital Improvements Committee here has met and presented their recommendations to the town's selectmen, giving voters a preliminary look at what might be requested on next year's Town Meeting warrant.

The Tamworth Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) was first adopted by the town's planning board on Feb. 26, 2009. According to the update, the CIP is meant to serve several purposes, including encouraging town departments and committees to think ahead and plan for the future, keeping the town's tax rate level and to insure the town's Master Plan is being implemented. The full text of the plan that shows recommended town projects 2012 through 2017 can be found at the town's Web site at www.tamworthnh.org.

The CIP recommendations are just that, recommendations, and the selectmen will ultimately choose what will be on the town warrant presented to town meeting voters in March 2012.

Following the plan, the committee recommends $35,000 for a new four-wheel-drive police cruiser, $240,000 for road reconstruction, $45,000 for the reconstruction and paving of a section of Cleveland Hill, $15,000 for mold abatement and painting of the Tamworth Town House, and upgrades to KA Brett Elementary School including roof repairs, window sealing, new lockers, enhanced building security, and improvements to the bathrooms to comply with ADA requirements.

The school security improvement, at $6,000, includes "installation of electrically locked interior doors will allow building-secured visitor access to the lobby/office."

The one item in the 2012 plan that stands out beyond a normal upgrade, replacement, or maintenance item is $12,500 for the planning board to conduct a "build-out analysis." In this town, where the adoption of a full-fledged zoning ordinance has been voted down several times, this is an item that is seen by some as a precursor to zoning. The CIP update describes the analysis as: "The analysis assesses buildable lots, projects future population growth by number and area, and provides a basis for municipal services planning (water, wastewater, emergency services, road construction/maintenance, schools, etc.).

Looking ahead to 2013, the plan calls for reconstructing and paving a second section of Cleveland Hill Road, adding storage and office space to the town office building, replacing another police cruiser, buying a trailer for emergency management supplies, and repairs to the school roof.

According to the committee report, the town's Conservation Commission has no capital improvements planned in the next five years. "No capital projects are planned at this time. The TCC may identify opportunities to conserve land to appear in future CIP reports and at such time appropriate funding will be a consideration, noting that privately sourced funding has been customary," the report reads. In Tamworth and in many other towns throughout the state, a portion of Land Use Change Tax assessed when a property owner takes land out of current use, is added to a conservation fund. The report explains, "The Conservation Fund is established in accordance with RSA 36-A. Only the Conservation Commission has the authority to expend funds from the Fund. However, the Commission's policy is to hold a public hearing whenever any interest in land is to be acquired, be it an outright purchase or a conservation easement. The Conservation Fund includes, from time-to-time, specific restricted line items for targeted projects, in which private contributions are kept (as for Gilman Forest). It also includes a permanent restricted line item for stewardship of conservation easements held by the Town, which would be used only if there was a need for a quick remedy to an easement issue or a legal action regarding an easement."

Additionally, the report recommends eliminating several capital reserve funds, also known as savings accounts set aside for specific future purchases, and instead purchasing large items outright. The report also recommends the selectmen work on creating an adequate inventory of all town-owned bridges for future inclusion in the CIP for budgeting.

In addition to being available online, the report is also available for viewing at Tamworth Town Office during normal business hours of Tuesday through Friday 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Salmon Press
Martin Lord Osman
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