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Tuftonboro selectmen disappointed with Time Warner cable contract


January 26, 2012
TUFTONBORO — The return of the draft contract with revisions by Time-Warner Cable Co. raised the ire of Contract Committee members Joe Kowalski and Selectman Dan Duffy at the Jan. 23 meeting of the Tuftonboro Board of Selectmen. "They're not serious about negotiating," declared Duffy. "We want a five-year contract; they want a 10-year contract. We want every 300 feet; they say 150 feet (a reference to residential density). They deleted the discount for the elderly. They said no to everything. That's what it's like dealing with a monopoly."

Kowakski chimed in, " They've given us no answers. How about no contract at all? We can put a [satellite] dish on the house. We're not getting a fair and equitable outcome."

Duffy questioned the repercussions of no contract at all.

Selectman Carolyn Sundquist that her main concerns are switching of channels (which now emanate from the Portland area rather than Boston), acquiring a five year contract and expanding access, and said that she would talk to the town's cable contract attorney, Kate Miller of Donahue, Tucker and Ciandella, on behalf of the board and set up a meeting to include both Miller and Mike Edgecomb of Time Warner.

Class VI Road services

Selectman heard a request from Skip Hurt on behalf of his neighbor Steve Mitchell, both residents of Willand Road, to consider plowing the approximate 1,000 feet of road to Mitchell's home.

It is a Class VI road. Residents are granted permits to build on such roads upon signing a waiver of town responsibility, but Hurt called attention to several extenuating circumstances primarily Mitchell's health issues, including hip replacements and joint pain (attributed to Lyme Disease) that presently preclude plowing and shoveling and the need for his severely handicapped and wheelchair bound daughter to have access to the school bus.

"I started healthy," said Mitchell, indicating that when he signed the waiver, he had no problem taking care of the road to his house, but his illness has been increasingly debilitating over the last six years.

Policy dictates that once the town starts offering its service, over time the road becomes reclassified and becomes the responsibility of the town.

Hurt, who lives further up the road, told the board that he has been helping his neighbor and his family of six children, and has maintained the ditch lines and improved the road over the last 12 years, but at this point, he would like the town to step in. He noted that three families have built homes and made improvements, which have increased the property value.

He suggested that the town review its policy on allowing permits to build homes on Class VI roads that will not be maintained and the classification of roads, but his over-riding purpose at the Jan. 23 meeting was to assist his neighbor, who is unable to afford private plowing.

Chairman Bill Stockman suggested that the board take a look at its list of Class VI roads and take note of those with residents for future planning.

The board agreed to consult with Road Agent Jim Bean on the matter.

Callender Family Cemetery

Stockman told the board that he visited the site of the Callender Family Cemetery, which the family has agreed to turn over to the town with the right for burial at the cemetery at no cost, and found the cemetery to be part of a five-acre view lot. In his opinion, it would not be right to take it off the tax maps, for it is a "prime building lot."

"Maybe it could be a Tuftonboro Cemetery expansion cemetery," said Selectman Carolyn Sundquist, but Stockman shook his head and said it wouldn't be appropriate for that purpose because it is at the top of a hill. Cemeteries need to be on level ground. But he agreed to resolve the issue in discussion with the other cemetery trustees.

Selectmen received notice that the developer of the ZaDeDa subdivision has declared bankruptcy, leaving taxes unpaid on six lots. Stockman said that eventually the town will probably have to take them over.

Other business

Duffy reported that the Lakes Region Planning Commission (LRPC) is assisting the conservation commission as it monitors Wolfeboro's Rapid Infiltration Basin operations and its effect on adjacent Tuftonboro land. "People complain about what it costs us to belong to the LRPC," said Duffy, " but it gives us services worth 10 times what we put in."

Stockman announced that the PTCO and Tuftonboro Parks and Recreation Committee are hosting the second annual Winter Fun Day, featuring outdoor recreational activities at Tuftonboro Central Park, also known as the Gould property on Sunday, Jan. 29, from 1 to 3 p.m.

The next scheduled selectmen's meeting is Feb. 6, in the Town Offices at 7 p.m.

The Tuftonboro Fire/Rescue Building Committee will hold its first of two public informational forum, also on Feb. 6, at 7 p.m., but in the Town House.

Please see the separate article on Tuftonboro Fire and Rescue's recent activities on page A7.

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