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Telephone pole tax relief bill, stronly opposed by Laconia, passes House

CONCORD — Eleven of the 18 members of the Belknap County Delegation — all of whom are Republicans — voted with the majority when a bill that will spare telecommunications companies a share of their property tax liability carried the New Hampshire House of Representatives yesterday.

House Bill 547 would enable telecommunications companies — chiefly FairPoint Communications, Inc. — to depreciate the value of their poles and conduits to 20 percent of their market value. The Laconia City Council urged the city's five representatives to vote against the bill, which would enable FairPoint to shed more than $30,000 in property taxes, which would instead be born by other taxpayers. Moreover, the precedent could lead other utilities to seek similar treatment.

Three of the city's representatives — Representatives Frank Tilton, Bob Luther and Peter Spanos — were joined by Representatives Russ Dumais of Gilford and Herb Vadney of Meredith in opposition to the bill. Robert Fisher, who represents Laconia and Belmont, voted with the majority for the bill and Don Flanders, the city's fourth representative, did not vote.

Representatives Glen Aldrich and George Hurt of Gildord, Guy Comtois of Barnstead, Dennis Fields and Brian Gallagher of Sanbornton, Valerie Fraser of New Hampton, Ray Howard and Peter Varney of Alton, and Shari LeBreche and Michael Sylvia of Belmont voted for the bill.

Representative David Russell of Gilmanton did not vote.

Last Updated on Saturday, 14 March 2015 01:24

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Narrow majority of Sanbornton voters decides to stick with 3

SANBORNTON — The Board of Selectmen will continue to made up of three people as a petitioned warrant article that would have upped the number to five failed on Tuesday by four votes.

The final tally was 244 against the increase and 240 for it.

The petition was signed by nearly every member of the Budget Committee and all three sitting selectmen.

The most compelling reasons people cited for expanding the board were to lighten the load for each individual selectman in terms of other boards and commissions for which they are responsible.

One of the more compelling reasons against, cited by the same people, was there are not enough people in Sanbornton willing to volunteer for the many boards and commissions that already exist.

Voters did approve an operating budget that was $5,000 higher than the Budget Committee recommended. The difference was a $5,000 annual raise for the Town Clerk Tax Collector.

Article 4 asked the voters to approve two additional firefighters and was defeated by four votes after a secret ballot was requested in writing by five voters.

Voters approved a $542,000 capital outlay for the town as well as a $31,000 police cruiser. Police Chief Steve Hankard said he would only buy the cruiser if and when he absolutely needed it.

The Fire Department will get its utility truck for $40,900 and the voters approved $225,000 of transfers to capital funds.

Voters approved changing the purpose of the Town Hall Restoration Fund so that it can be used for planning, engineering and design as well as construction.

An Article for a noise ordinance failed, however all five recommended zoning changes passed.

Last Updated on Saturday, 14 March 2015 01:18

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Temporary downtown traffic pattern kicks in on Monday & Tuesday

LACONIA — As the final phase of the reconstruction of the Main Street Bridge gets underway, downtown traffic will be rerouted beginning this week.

On Monday, Main Street will be closed to northbound traffic from the Main Street Bridge to the Pleasant Street intersection as crews re-stripe lane markings and parking spaces. On Tuesday downtown traffic will be rerouted.

Beacon Street West will be closed to southbound traffic near Sawyer's Jewelry, but the parking lot behind the stores on Main Street will remain accessible. Beacon Street West will be open to two-way traffic from Veterans Square with vehicles traveling in both directions able to turn into Water Street.

Pleasant Street, which will remain one-way, will serve as the major southbound route. Main Street will become southbound from Pleasant Street to the Main Street Bridge, but will remain one-way northbound from Pleasant Street to Church Street. Southbound traffic on Pleasant will be able to turn north on to Main Street, to reach Beacon East by way of Hanover Street, which will remain two-way, and turn south on to Main Street.

Beacon Street East will serve as the major northbound route. Traffic from Beacon Street East will be able to reach Main Street by way of Hanover Street, which will remain two-way. But, trucks traveling northbound will be directed to Church Street. Southbound traffic on Main Street will be able to turn left to reach Beacon Street East and to access the parking garage.

All downtown businesses will remain open and accessible during while traffic is detoured. Most downtown parking will remain available and residents are encouraged to patronize downtown businesses

Last Updated on Saturday, 14 March 2015 01:06

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Gilmanton woman faces witness tampering charge

ALTON — Alton Police have charged a local woman with witness tampering for allegedly reaching out to the victims of an allegedly burglary and asking them not to get her in any more trouble.

Prosecutor Anthony Estee said yesterday that Julie Moulton, 42, of 6 Old Town Road in Gilmanton is also charged with one count of burglary and one count of criminal trespass for crimes allegedly committed against the same people.

She faces the same burglary and criminal trespass charges as Brandon Prue of Northfield.

Alton Police said the two entered a home in Alton on December 30, 2014 and were found inside by an Alton Police officer after one of the neighbors called them to report seeing flashlights inside.

They told the officer that they were in the home at the request of the homeowners who was out of town and had asked them to board up the house. Estee said the homeowners denied this.

In early February, after a brief probable cause trial in the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division, Judge Jim Carroll determined there was no probable cause to charge Prue with burglary.

Estee said Moulton faces the same charges in the same incident and it will be the Belknap County Attorney's Office that will ultimately determine if the allegedly burglary charge against both of them will be presented to a grand jury for possible indictment.

He said the witness tampering charge is separate and distinct from the other two charges Moulton faces and she is scheduled to be arraigned on April 16 in the Laconia Circuit Court.

Last Updated on Saturday, 14 March 2015 01:03

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