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Joyce Endee

Restraining order against town officials is withdrawn

by Tim Croes
Staff Writer - The Baysider
January 10, 2012
ALTON — The Alton Board of Selectmen met on Monday, Jan. 9, and vice-chair Loring Carr read a statement regarding the withdrawal of Peter Keen's restraining order against town officials.

"It is unfortunate that Mr. Keen dropped his request for a restraining order against the various state and town officials and the private consultants. Now the individuals that were the subject of Mr. Keen's accusations will have no opportunity to tell what really transpired during the board of selectmen's meeting at Trask Side Road," the statement read. "Because Mr. Keen has asked the State Police to review the events that took place during the public meeting, the selectmen, town officials and the town consultants will not publicly discuss the events any further. They all look forward to discussing the events with representatives of the State Police in the event that the State Police pursue this matter and they fully expect that Mr. Keen's allegation will be found to factually unwarranted."

Member Peter Bolster provided the board with an update on the Alton Senior Center.

He said that the gas will be hooked up in the near future, and that the center should be up and fully functioning in the next couple of days.

Bolster announced that a ceremony will be held Feb. 10, with Gov. John Lynch in attendance.

Bolster said that there is approximately $6,000 to $7,000 left in the fund to work on Phase II, and that an additional $50,000 will be needed to help complete the second phase of the renovation.

Bolster thanked the Masonic Lodge for provided their building as temporary space for the seniors during the construction, and Carr suggested sending a letter to the lodge thanking them.

Carr informed the board that the budget committee has finalized the budget for next year and said that the number is close to what the selectmen proposed.

The bottom line budget that the budget committee will be bringing forward to the voters is $6,169,810.

Town administrator Russ Bailey informed that board the Bay Hill Road drainage project is mostly completed and the selectmen signed a substantial completion of the project document that was recommended by the engineer.

Ruth Arsenault came before the board during public input and thanked the selectmen for separating the Echo Point piece of land in the town warrant articles.

She asked the board about the sidewalk improvement fund and was told that no changes could be made by the board because the budget committee has presented its final recommendations, but a change could be made on the floor during the deliberative session.

Bailey said that an estimated $15,000 to $16,000 is in the fund, with a warrant article asking for an additional $10,000 to be added coming to the voters in March.

The budget for next year is an increase of .31 percent, and Bolster pointed out that this increase is being presented while the selectmen meet their moral obligation to the town employees to give step raises every two years and the cost of living increases when needed.

Bailey introduced the board with a copy of a petition article that asks to rescind an article that changed the number of members on the water commission.

Last year, the number was changed from three to five, and the petition article ask that this changed be rescinded and the board go back to original three-member commission.

Bailey presented the board with the annual landfill report, which didn't present any new information. The report will be sent to the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services.

Bailey talked to the board about improving the drainage at Spring Street.

A site walk was conducted and the selectmen were provided with three different ways to improve drainage, which ranged in cost from $15,500 to $44,800.

Highway agent Ken Roberts is recommending the most expensive option, and Bailey said that the cost of ledge is unknown for the project.

Carr brought up a concern with maintenance with the highest option, as maintenance will be needed.

The board agreed to table the issue, and Carr requested to sit down with the engineer on the project and Roberts and go over the options in detail.

Bailey provided the board with an update on the town report. He said that an initial printing of 150 copies of the report will be made, and additional copies can be made if needed, as the report is being produced in house.

Bailey gave the board an update on the FEMA support that will be coming in from Hurricane Irene.

He said that $10,244 will be coming in that will pay for the overtime for town employees during the hurricane and that he gotten verbal confirmation that additional compensation will be coming in for the Reed Road Bridge project.

The cost for the project was $4,500 for work on the drainage pipe and $85,000 for the temporary bridge.

FEMA will pay for 75 percent of that, which works out to about $67,000. That number will be subtracted from the cost of the bridge replacement, which costs $500,000, and the State of New Hampshire will pay 80 percent of that number.

The board approved recommendations by the Town Assessor including abatements, land use tax, administrative abatements and veterans tax credit requests.

The board also approved a pole petition by the New Hampshire Electric Co-op on Reed Road Bridge.

A request has been filed for Bowman Road. There is an erosion issue on the road, and the board agreed to discuss the issue during an upcoming workshop and schedule a site walk.

The board also approved a request for tax relief for the elderly housing on Spruce Street, which allows the elderly and handicapped residents to pay only the municipal portion of the tax base.

The board approved an application by the Alton Business Association for Winter Carnival for the weekend of Feb. 19.

Bailey also announced that the ABA has been talking to the Alton Parks and Recreation Department about taking over the handful events that they hold annually.

The board agreed that the ABA can work together with parks and recreation on the event, but Carr requested that they provide the town with at least five days notice on changes to the event, remembering how the event was abruptly cancelled last year due to weather.

With Steve McMahon and Dave Hussey absent from the meeting, the board elected to table approving minutes from meetings throughout the month of December.

The next scheduled meeting of the Alton Board of Selectmen is on Monday, Jan. 23, 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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