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Joyce Endee

Selectmen concerned about numbering change on ballot

by Thomas Beeler
Editor of The Granite State News
February 23, 2012
WOLFEBORO — Selectman Chair Sarah Silk began the Board of Selectmen's Feb. 15 meeting with a statement expressing concern about potential voter confusion over the March 13 ballot.

Her concern grew out of a decision by Moderator Randy Walker that a motion at the Feb. 7 Deliberative Session by Suzanne Ryan to consider a petition article she wrote out of numerical order meant that the warrant article itself was moved from being Article 30 on the ballot to Article 20.

At the Feb. 7 session Ryan asked that her petition Article 30 – which proposes to move town employees out of Brewster Hall and into leased space at a cost of no more than $70,000 – be considered immediately following discussion on Article 19, an article submitted by selectmen proposing to spend $200,000 on specific improvements to the building. Many present at the Deliberative Session, including Selectmen Silk, Dave Bowers and Linda Murray, understood Ryan's motion to mean that the article was being brought up out of order only for the purpose of discussing it, and not to make a permanent change in the order of warrant articles on the ballot. After the meeting Ryan insisted that her intention had been to move the article up numerically. In an e-mail sent to Town Clerk Pat Waterman and Moderator Walker, after stating her demand, she wrote "If this is not a result and the ballot is printed otherwise, I will have no choice but to inform the Attorney Generals' office of an elected official's misconduct and/or notify my attorney." Moderator Walker and Town Counsel Mark Puffer accepted Ryan's contention, and what was Article 30 before the Deliberative Session is now Article 20.

The problem with that change, as Silk explained at the selectmen's meeting, was that many voters had already picked up copies of the warrant with the original numbering; moreover, Board of Selectmen members and town department heads had already made presentations broadcast on Wolfeboro Community Television that referred to articles by the original numbers. Now Articles 20-29 have been renumbered as Articles 21-30.

To avoid possible confusion, Wolfeboro Community Television will run the warrant article presentations again with the corrected warrant article numbers and also make the presentations available for viewing on demand on its Web site www.wolfeborocommunitytelevision.org. For more information please see the boxed note "Wolfeboro Voter Information" on the front page of this issue of the Granite State News.

One important resource for avoiding confusion is the Wolfeboro Voters Guide, which provides a summary of all warrant articles and a voting checklist that voters can bring into the polling booth with them, had not been published. The new Guide, with the correct article numbers, will be published in next week's issue of the Granite State News as a pullout section in the middle of the first section of the paper. In addition, copies will also be available next Thursday afternoon at Town Hall and the Wolfeboro Public Library.

Murray pointed out that Ryan's article involves removing employees from Brewster Hall and leaving the building abandoned. Bowers said he feels the article as written is ambiguous. He also said he was bothered by people who asked that the building be improved but are not willing to pay for it: "You can't have it both ways."

WCTV sound problem

Wolfeboro Community Television President Allen Bailey appeared before the board to apologize for the lack of sound during the broadcast of the Deliberative Session on Feb. 7. He said that the station has been working out of "a FEMA trailer" during Kingswood construction in less-than-ideal circumstances but will shortly move into a new studio. He promised to fix the problem whatever it takes to do it. In the meantime the Deliberative Session with sound is being "streamed" from the station's Web site.

Computer specialist and board member Keith Garrett handed out a flow chart of how WCTV live broadcasts are handled and pointed out the complexity of the current arrangement, with five signal processing or transfer points before the signal reaches Metrocast for broadcast. Nearly every point allows for sound adjustment, so it is important for someone to continuously monitor a live broadcast and be prepared to make adjustments if something happens, like sound dropping out. He said that at any time there are only one or two WCTV personnel working. With more funding a third person could be added to monitor live broadcasts. For the live broadcast that Wednesday night Station Manager Peter Pijoan was operating the camera and mixing board at the library and Ryan Noonan was monitoring at the station.

Town Manager Dave Owen noted that as a result of the recent cable contract renewal WCTV was given a one-time grant of $10,000 and the increase in the franchise fee from three to four percent will add $11,000 in annual revenue. "The resources should be there" to fix the problem he concluded.

Pijoan said the new studio will have access to a digital feed to Metrocast that is 60 times faster than the one at the library. He also said that when the Deliberative Session is rebroadcast, there will be a voiceover to make clear how article numbers have changed.

Murray suggested a crawler at the bottom of the screen noting when the session will be rebroadcast.

Libby Museum 100th plans

Former Libby Museum Director Pat Smith reported on this year's plans for celebrating the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Libby Museum, the town's natural history museum, in 1912.

She handed each board member a pewter medallion, produced by Hampshire Pewter, that commemorates the anniversary. The medallion will sale at Town Hall along with Libby Chocolates produced by Sally Cornwell.

Celebrated artist Peter Ferber is painting a poster for the museum that will be for sale at the museum in June in a limited edition of 1,000 signed copies.

Bill Swaffield at Kingswood Press has already produced its 2012 calendar featuring five views of the museum – four outside taken by Bob Ness in all four seasons, plus an interior view – that is available at the Press.

There will be a special Libby float in the 4th of July parade.

There will be a Family Day at the museum on July 28, sponsored by the Friends of the Libby, featuring music, antique cars, face painting, food and ice cream.

A quilt show on the theme of wildlife and natural will be held in August, organized by Selectman Chair Sarah Silk.

And finally there will be a gala celebration on Sunday, Aug. 12 – the official anniversary of the museum – from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Wolfeboro Inn. Sen. Jeb Bradley will mail invitations to public officials, including the governor.

She said there also may be t-shirts for sale with a Libby Logo by Peter Ferber.

All of these activities will be in addition to the regular summer program of the museum, which current Director Lauren Hammond will announce in due course.

Smith said she enjoyed her 20 years as director of the museum and "loved everything about it." She said she appreciated how patient the town was as she learned the ropes of running its museum and how supportive of her when she tried many different things.

Owen pointed out in a letter to Robert Osmond, President of the Friends of the Libby Museum he shared with the board, that the town has spent more than $95,000 on improvements to the building to get it ready for its centennial, including replacing the septic system and reconstructing the front walkway.

Tax deeds

Tax Collector Brenda LaPointe presented the board with tax deeds for five properties taken through liens for unpaid taxes. She went through the required notification process when the property owner is given more than one chance to pay the back taxes. The lots include a one-acre lot on Varney Road, a 6.3 acre lot on Cotton Valley Road, 3.5 acres on South Main Street, 2.06 acres on College Road, and 0.46 acres on Route 109/Governor Wentworth Highway near Lake Wentworth.

The board approved all deeds except the one on College Road, which they tabled pending an assessment by Town Planner Rob Houseman on whether it is buildable.

The town may keep the lots, turn them over for conservation if appropriate, or sell them,

Other business

Jim Morash of Mount Washington Cruises came for approval of a landing permit for the Mount at the Wolfeboro docks for its 140th year. He said it has been tough time for the Mount in the past few years but things are looking up, so much so that the reduced schedule of recent years will be expanded and Wolfeboro will once again be visited on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The result will be that the M/S Mount Washington will stop in Wolfeboro five days a week in July and August, and six days a week in September and October. Morash noted that the original Mount started in Wolfeboro in 1872. He said the annual shakedown cruise has been scheduled for April 30.

The board also approved temporary event permits for Brewster Academy to hold three craft fairs in July and August, and for the Cate Park bandstand to be used for a wedding on Saturday, Aug. 11, at 3:30 p.m.

Owen recommended putting the town's Web site address on all town stationery as it is reprinted. The board agreed.

Selectmen signed a joint letter with the selectmen of Conway and Moultonborough asking the Carroll County Commissioners to consider changing the assessment for county dispatch, since all three towns have their own dispatch centers.

Bowers proposing having plaque prepared to attach to the Town Hall flagpole honored Jeff Adjutant, who donated the new pole with his wife Susan. Adjutant passed away suddenly on Feb. 12.

The next meeting of the Wolfeboro Board of Selectmen will be on Wednesday, March 7 at 6:30 p.m. at the Wolfeboro Public Library meeting room.

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