November 1, 2001

This week's stories: (Click on the headline to jump to story)

This week's stories: (click on the headline to jump to story)

Goffstown tax rate increases 6 percent
Angry selectman quits his seat on New Boston board
Department sets policy on hazardous materials response
China Gourmet plan heads back to planning board
Group urges paid holiday for safety personnel
Transfer station fees climb in Dunbarton

Emotional win

Crying for joy (top photo), Ashley Brown embraces Goffstown field hockey coach Kim McCann shortly after knocking in an overtime state championship-winning goal in a 3-2
triumph against defending champion Kingswood on Sunday, Oct. 28, at Memorial Field in Concord. The 6-year-old coach/
athlete relationship ended with the winning shot. McCann coached Brown's seventh-grade middle school team. In bottm photo, McCann and Brooke Nichols enjoy watching Goffstown field hockey captains Ashley Brown and Andi Teague pose with the NHIAA Class-I state
championship field hockey plaque after the postgame award presentation. This was Goffstown's third field hockey title and the first since 1989. See story on the game, Page B-1.
(Eric Emmerling Photos)

Goffstown tax rate increases 6 percent

Staff Writer

GOFFSTOWN ­ Goffstown's tax rate has climbed to $30.20 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, a 6.2 percent increase over last year's rate. But the town's portion of the rate has remained stable for a third year in a row.

For a home valued at $150,000, that will mean a tax bill of $4,530 in the 2001-02 fiscal year.

Last year, Goffstown's property rate was $28.43 per $1,000 of assessed valuation ­ representing a $4,264.50 tax bill for a home valued at $150,000.

The tax rate, set by the state Department of Revenue Administration, is composed of town, local school and state reimbursements for educational adequacy, and county tax rates.

The town's portion of the rate remained level at $9.61, while the local school portion is $11.25, the state adequacy portion is $7.23, and the county portion is $2.11.

The highest increase is in the state educational adequacy portion of the rate, which rose 8.2 percent over last year's 6.68 percent rate.

According to Michelle Croteau, SAU 19's business manager, funds raised in Goffstown through the state adequacy portion of the tax rate are spent locally and are supplemented by state grants to achieve "adequacy" levels.

"Our tax rate does not cover adequacy," she said. "It stays local because the amount that is raised is less than the amount we are entitled to for state adequacy funding. Therefore, we receive a grant for the balance."

The local school rate reflects the first year of interest payments for the renovation of Goffstown Area High School.
Croteau said school officials estimate this amount to be 24 cents of the $11.25 local school portion of the tax rate.

Town Administrator Sue Desruisseaux said the town portion of the rate was kept at the same level by keeping surpluses in reserve and keeping spending under control.

"You manage it through the budgeting process and offsetting it with a fund balance," she said .
She said the state Department of Revenue Administration recommends that the fund balance ­ a fund in which a surplus is deposited and carried over from year to year ­ remain between 5 and 10 percent of annual revenue.

According to Desruisseaux, the town has maintained the fund between those percentages and has drawn upon the fund to keep the town portion of the tax rate level again this year.

She said the town has also been fiscally responsible by spending less than it takes in, keeping down expenditures and taking in more revenue than expected.

Town tax bills are due twice each year, in July and in December.
The new rates will be reflected in the second tax bill of 2001, which will be due Dec. 3.


Angry selectman quits his seat on New Boston board

David Delorey charges 'incompetence'

Staff Writer

NEW BOSTON ­ Selectman David Delorey has resigned from office after calling Town Administrator Burton Reynolds "incompetent" and citing improper behavior on the part of several other town employees.
In a letter to Town Clerk Irene Baudreau dated Oct. 23, Delorey said he was resigning because of corruption in town government.

"I have found the town administrator, highway agent and a majority of the board of selectmen have little respect for certain basic Constitutional rights and the civil rights of citizens and taxpayers," read the letter. "State laws are routinely ignored by these individuals without warning, reprimand or suspension to the offending parties."

Delorey faults Town Administrator Burton Reynolds for not launching an investigation into those who placed a sign on his property at 252 Clark Hill Road, an incident which touched off a heated debate at a selectmen's meeting earlier this month.
"The town administrator is incompetent, divisive and a poor communicator," Delorey wrote in his letter of resignation.  "What's worse, he encourages his subordinates to deliberately violate state statutes and engage in inappropriate or improper behavior."

Delorey, who was elected to a two-year term in March, 2000, said he doesn't have any clear plans for the future.
"I think I'm just going to quietly return to private life," he said.

But Delorey also said he plans to be anything but quiet in his investigation into town officials.
"We're going to finish this exercise," he said.

For Delorey, the conflict began when he alleged that the town illegally placed a speed limit sign on his property Sept. 18.
The sign was removed and a week later was found on Delorey's property. Delorey said he does not know who took the sign down.

He said highway officials placed the post for the sign dangerously close to a buried electrical conduit without first contacting the proper authorities, as required by law.

He said a settlement with the town, reached in March 2000, prevented the town from erecting a sign on his property.
During the Oct. 22 selectmen's meeting, Delorey invoked the U.S. Constitution and the federal Civil Rights Act as he presented his fellow selectmen with a list of 17 questions, which he said Town Administrator Burton Reynolds had refused to answer.
Selectmen Gordon Carlstrom and David Woodbury accepted Delorey's resignation at the Oct. 29 selectmen's meeting.

Neither selectman commented on Delorey's resignation or the charges contained in his letter to Baudreau.
State law allows selectmen to appoint a replacement for Delorey until the next scheduled election in March.

Selectmen will advertise the opening for three weeks in local newspapers.
"I would like somebody who doesn't have a personal agenda," said Woodbury. "They just end up frustrated and the town ends up poorer for it."


Department sets policy on hazardous materials response

Staff Writer

GOFFSTOWN ­The fire department has established a policy on handling hazardous material spills and has met with town officials to train them in handling suspicious mail.
Fire Chief Ed Hunter said the department put the policy into action this week regarding hazardous materials and containing spills.

Hunter said the Goffstown Fire Department routinely cleans up minor spills of ammonia or other chemicals.
"If they're not spilled over a wide area, we can handle those situations fairly easily," he said.
But if the situation is beyond the department's ability to handle, he said, a hazardous materials team from Nashua called the Souhegan Mutual Aid Response Team (SMART) will be called in.

"If the situation is such that we cannot identify the material, or if the circumstances surrounding its appearance cannot be explained, or if we cannot otherwise handle the situation, we would call in SMART," he said.

The Nashua-based hazardous materials team can respond 24 hours a day, seven days a week to disasters in Goffstown, New Boston or Weare.

It has an estimated response time of one-and-a-half hours to Goffstown, and utilizes four field tests to establish "hot zones" where chemicals are located.

The SMART team participated in a hazardous materials drill at Mountain View Middle School June 1, along with police and fire officials from Goffstown and other area communities.

Hunter said several firefighters in the department are certified as hazardous materials technicians, but the department does not yet require that level of protection.

According to Hunter, the department currently operates at "Level C," the lowest level of protection needed to handle potentially hazardous biological materials.

The new policy follows a meeting Tuesday, Oct. 16, with town officials advising them on handling suspicious materials.
The meeting was conducted by Hunter and Police Chief Michael French, who serves as the town's emergency management director.

Hunter said the meeting with town officials came at the urging of French and Town Administrator Sue Desruisseaux, and focused on the safe handling of mail.

"We held a staff meeting with town hall employees, so if they come across a piece of mail that is suspicious they could handle it and would have some idea what we'd be doing."

Hunter said if town officials come across a suspicious letter or package, "they should not handle it and should let us decide what to do with it."

Staff members were told that it is unwise to move a suspicious parcel. Instead, they should walk away from it, wash their hands thoroughly and call the fire department immediately.

Desruisseaux said in light of recent events the meetings were necessary.
"The times necessitated it," she said. "We just wanted to set up a protocol because there's just so much information out there on handling hazardous materials."

She said town hall received an advisory on mail handling from the New Hampshire Municipal Association.
Like many people throughout the country, she said she found it hard to believe that it was necessary to discuss the topic in an office setting.

"I never thought that I would be doing this," she said. "Who would have thought that we would staff meetings on this subject?"


China Gourmet plan heads back to planning board

Staff Writer

GOFFSTOWN ­ The planning board has determined that changes to the approved site plan for the China Gourmet relocation project were significant enough to call for another public hearing.

The hearing will be held in the town hall meeting room on Thursday, Nov. 8 at 7 p.m.

China Gourmet owner Kan Hun So answered questions and presented a new set of architectural drawings Thursday, Oct. 25, at the request of the planning board.

The board had requested So's appearance to clarify several changes to the approved plan, which include a decision not to join the restaurant with the Village Trestle Restaurant with a door and pass-through window.

The Village Trestle is next to the new China Gourmet location in the same building.
The building is owned by So, who is a partner in the Village Trestle Restaurant.

Board members expressed concern that the changes were "materially" different from the original proposal, which was approved May 24.

Along with adjoining restaurants, the original proposal called for a non-smoking section for the Village Trestle within the China Gourmet, which would share tables, restroom facilities and handicapped access with the Village Trestle.

The new plan includes a front porch entryway, which has already been constructed, two bathrooms, and a handicapped ramp in the alley between the Trestle/China Gourmet building and the building occupied by Vikster's Pizza.

The ramp is required of all new construction under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

So has said the decision not to connect the two restaurants came after negative customer feedback about the idea.
Planning board member Dick Georgantas believes the plans require a public hearing because they would affect residents who live in apartments over Vikster's.

"If this is going to be a handicapped access way into that building, doesn't it have to be lit?" Georgantas asked. "Lighting might intrude on the apartments."

Board member Bill Wynne said he wanted a delay to allow the fire department to review the handicapped access.
Alternate board member Richard Murphy agreed.

"This is a significant change and I think we need to address this," he said.

Member Collis Adams wanted to know how many more tables would be added to the restaurant now that it will be separated from the Village Trestle in the new plan.

"I'd like an accounting of how the numbers work out," he said. "We've got separate restaurants now. There are a number of issues that, all together, may trigger a public hearing."

Adams said the Goffstown Main Street Program should also review the plans.

Several members raised the issue of increased parking for the restaurant in its new location and its impact on traffic.
But Planning and Economic Development Coordinator David Schwerd said the parking issue should not be seriously considered.

"I think the planning board needs to view the parking regulations as a guideline and not a restriction," he said.
He pointed out that the town provides municipal parking and has not required other businesses in the Village Commercial District to provide customer and employee parking.

"The Village would look like a Wal-Mart parking lot if we did," he said.


Group urges paid holiday for safety personnel

Staff Writer

NEW BOSTON ­ Four residents want to commemorate the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks with a paid holiday and the planting of a tree as a living memorial to those who lost their lives assisting the survivors of the attacks.

Residents Eric Scovill, Chris Quirk and Peter Van Scoyoc presented a draft proclamation to selectmen Monday, Oct. 22, calling for New Boston to set aside Sept. 11 as a paid townwide holiday for safety personnel.

Van Scoyoc told selectmen the rescue efforts shown by police, fire and EMT personnel in New York City were "a wake up call for all of us."

"We were all deeply struck by the loss of so many people at the hands of a few terrorists," he said. "What stood out above all else was the rescue efforts. Their courage and sacrifice for their fellow citizens left us all with a renewed respect for the people around the country, and here in New Boston, that commit their lives in the service to their community."

They suggested Sept. 11 as a paid holiday for all police and fire personnel.

Selectmen said they will have to review the request for paid holidays because of the financial impact to the town.
Ben St. Ammand, a fourth-grader at New Boston Central School, proposed that the town plant a tree to commemorate the rescue workers.

He said he was making the proposal "for all the firefighters who helped with the accident."

In addition, a dinner and dance will be held at the recreation hall of the Friendly Beaver Campground for firefighters, police and EMTs, as well as selectmen and their spouses.

The dance will be held by the end of the year, said Van Scoyoc.


Transfer station fees climb in Dunbarton

New fees will be more in line with other communities, officials say

Staff Writer

DUNBARTON ­ The first revision of transfer station fees in five years goes into effect Thursday, Nov. 1.
The reappraisal of the fees came after a survey of transfer stations in nearly a dozen area communities, said transfer station supervisor Woody Bowne.

While some fees are up, Bowne said the new fees are designed to be fairer and address some concerns about safety.
"It's so we're running roughly the same as other towns," he said. "Some charge even more."

Fees to increase will include disposal of refrigerators, which use freon, and tires.
Bowne said the town does not charge residents for disposal of household appliances, but must charge $10 each for appliances that use freon.

Disposal of tires 17 inches or less in size now cost $2 if not mounted. Previously disposal of all tires cost $1 each.
Mounted tires will cost $4. Previously the town did not accept mounted tires for disposal.

The transfer station will no longer take tires over 17 inches, and no tires will be accepted from commercial companies and garages.

Under the new regulations, construction debris will be charged according to the size of the truck it's hauled in.
Bowne said the change was brought about by resident complaints about the previous rate structure.

A small, shortbed pickup carrying heavy construction debris such as asphalt shingles or sheetrock will be charged $45. A large, longbed pickup carrying the same material will be charged $110. Previously, construction debris was charged at a rate of $16 a cubic yard.

Light construction debris, such as plywood and insulation board, will be charged at a rate of 50 cents a cubic foot.
Hazardous materials such as paint, pesticides, varnishes, anti-freeze and stains can no longer be taken.

Bowne said these items must be disposed of during
"hazardous waste days," such as the one held in Bow last month.

He said fluorescent bulbs are the only hazardous materials still accepted under the new regulations.
"The problem is that we're not a licensed facility to have hazardous waste," he said. "It's not anything we want to get into right now."

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