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Selectmen extend loan on Potter Hill property


January 04, 2012
Selectmen voted to extend the purchase and sales agreement for 43 Potter Hill Rd. for another year during their meeting Wednesday, Dec. 28, giving Village Knolls Trustees another year to raise funds for the land.

With Selectman Gus Benavides sitting in for absent Chairman John O'Brien, the selectmen heard again from Library Director Katherine Dormody and Tony Ferruolo, President of the Village Knolls Board of Trustees, with their groups' final decisions on the extention.

According to Dormody, the Friends of the Gilford Public Library, who originally donated $40,000 towards the property, were in favor of extending the agreement for one more year.

Initially, the town planned to construct the new library at 43 Potter Hill, so the Friends began putting funds towards the project. After they selected the new site, they were stuck with the investment on 43 Potter Hill. Since their $40,000 was a donation, the Friends are to be reimbursed the full amount upon the sale of the property.

Dormody said that Laconia Savings Bank agreed to extend the loan with no penalty fees, charging the library interest only for the next year. According to Dormody, this came out to about $300 per month.

With the extra time, Ferruolo said he and the Knolls Trustees would be "continually looking at all options" to find funds to purchase the land.

According to Ferruolo, they did not receive Federal Housing and Urban Development (HUD) grants towards the purchase or the construction of their new facility, but they will continue to look elsewhere for grants or private donations.

In other business, selectmen accepted the resignation of Zoning Board of Adjustment member Mark Corry.

According to Corry, his resignation came as a direct result of personnel cuts to the Department of Planning and Land Use — specifically, the elimination of Technical Assistant Stephanie Verdile Philibotte.

"If the town is not going to support the people who volunteer, then why volunteer?" said Corry.

Aside from her work in the Planning Department, Philbotte also assisted with the ZBA and the Gilford Conservation Commission.

Selectmen made a previous attempt to eliminate the technical assistant position, but decided to temporarily reinstate Philibotte after they were urged to reevaluate the issue by members of the ZBA and Conservation Commission.

Corry originally said he would resign from his position if selectmen carried through with the elimination of Philibotte's position, and he carried through with his promise in a brief letter to selectmen dated Dec. 14.

On an unrelated matter, Corry addressed a concern to the selectmen during the public input portion of the meeting over a letter to the editor published in the Dec. 29 issue of the Steamer, signed by Town Administrator Scott Dunn, rebutting commentary in a letter to the editor by Barbra Aichinger, a Governor's Island resident.

In her letter, published in the Dec. 22 issue of the Steamer, Aichinger stated her opinion that public sector employees often receive unwarranted salary increases at the expense of local taxpayers, creating a drain on the resources of the private sector.

According to Corry, he agreed with the counterpoints of Dunn's letter up until the end, where Dunn stated "There are no town employees who own two homes on Governor's Island with a total assessed value in excess of $2.6 million."

Dunn made a similar comment to Aichinger during a recent selectmen's meeting, to which Aichinger openly took offense.

Corry did not contest the validity of the statment, but said it was, in his oppinion, an inapproptiate comment for a town offical to make regarding a resident. He backed up his comments with the ethics sections of the selectmen's guidlines, which he printed off the town Web site.

Selectman Benavides mentioned that the guidline had been changed to specifically apply to elected town officals, though it was not updated online.

Corry concluded by saying Dunn owed Aichinger an appology, and his conduct was "unbecoming of a town offical."

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