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Moore steps down as selectman, voters look at bridge costs

March 21, 2012
LITTLETON—Outgoing Selectman Peter Moore was honored for his 10 years of service to the town and voters approved the town's budget with no comment, though there was some discussion about how to fix a levee along the Pemigewasset River and how to fix the Loon Mountain Bridge, washed out during Tropical Storm Irene.

The meeting lasted a little over two hours, with the majority of discussion centered around Article 4 and the timetable for replacing the bridge to the tune of $6 million, $4.5 million of which will come from the federal government, $1.2 million from the state government and $300,000 from the town.

There was some question by residents about whether the $300,000 should come from a fund balance left over from last year or from taxation but town officials said it wouldn't really affect the bottom line in either case. If the fund balance were used, taxes would be lower for the first tax bill but higher for the second, and the reverse if the money came from direct taxation. Officials said they believed it better to hold onto the fund balance for any unexpected emergencies.

Town Manager Peter Joseph noted that DRA (Department of Revenue Administration) recommends that towns keep around 10 percent of their annual budget in a contingency fund for just that reason.

The bridge is expected to be closed through the summer of 2013 and open in September 2013.

Joseph said if the town does not get the federal and state funds—which was almost certain he said—then the town would not go ahead with the project but be before the voters again next year.

Another warrant article that attracted considerable attention was Article 6, which asked voters to give their input about a timetable to restore a stone levee along the Pemigewasset River to its 1960 condition in order to have it recertified by the Army Corps of Engineers as a flood control project.

The levee was decertified in 2006 after the Corps gave the town only a few months to bring it up to its previous condition. After Hurricane Katrina the Corps dropped many of its projects.

Voters were asked to approve one of two timetables: do engineering and construction work this year or do the engineering this year and construction next year.

Selectmen and voters approved the latter, as well as $70,000 for engineering.

Voters approved the budget without comment as well as the other articles on the warrant, which mostly put money into various reserve funds.

At the end of the meeting Selectman Patricia McTeague presented a plaque to outgoing Selectman Peter Moore, calling him a true, thrifty Yankee. Moore said he felt lucky to live in such a town and that much can be accomplished when the select board agrees not to fight and to get along.

Mike Cryans
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