Pelham - Windham News December 3, 2010 - 5
Pelham Road Designs Discussed
by Lynne Ober Pelham Planning Director Jeff Gowan briefed selectmen on the status of three road design projects. The first was the Sherburne Road and Mammoth Road intersection. According to Gowan, a design with a roundabout had been completed in 2007 and it had been determined that this would be a cost-effective solution to the traffic issues at this busy intersection. However, this work was not in the state’s 10-year plan, so Pelham decided to begin exacting funds from developers who were doing developments along Sherburne Road. Town Counsel Attorney Ratigan provided a legal opinion regarding exactions versus impact fees. Based on that opinion, Gowan coordinated with New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NH DOT) Engineering Administrator Bill Lambert. Gowan noted that he was trying to ensure that NH DOT was in agreement with the design and the project. At this point, Gowan told selectmen that the money collected had “aged” and would be returned to the developers because there was a six-year limit on holding the money. Selectmen discussed the situation. When Selectman Doug Viger asked if the intersection had to be identified in the CIP so that funds could be collected, Gowan replied that it was a statutory prerequisite for an impact fee, but not for an off-site exaction. Selectman Hal Lynde wanted to know if there was at least a ballpark figure for the roundabout project, but Gowan pointed out that no engineering had been completed on the project. Gowan said he had gotten estimates from $450,000 to $750,000, but that engineering would be needed to nail down a real estimate.
The other intersection that Gowan wanted to discuss was the Ledge Road and Route 39 intersection. Not only is this a busy intersection, but the line of sight is poor. Gowan said he wanted to work with NH DOT on possible solutions, but also needed to include Mr. Bergeron who owns the convenience store at the intersection. Selectmen wondered if ‘dangerous intersection’ signs could be posted to warn motorists. The third design project concerned direction given by the Planning Board to the applicant to design a connection to Surrey Lane, off St. Margaret’s Drive. He told selectmen that the abutters had engaged their own engineer to ‘watch dog’ the project and had voiced concerns. According to Gowan, the abutters wanted to have the cul-de-sac removed. Gowan said that both the Planning Board and Selectmen would have to approve any final design. Selectmen indicated that potential impacts to residents should be mitigated by any design and asked for future updates as plans moved along. Town Administrator Tom Gaydos sounded a warning about this project, which concerns fears about polluted drinking water, and pointed out that assuming responsibility for drinking water would be a concern. Gowan said that the overall costs were more than the developer
wanted to pay and that the Planning Board had it within their rights to deny the applicant. He would contact NH DOT on this. Gaydos said they also had a legal opinion and he would forward that to selectmen.
In Defense of the CIP Program
by Barbara O’Brien It’s the middle of the budget preparation season in towns across New Hampshire, and Windham is no exception. It was for this reason that Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) Committee member Rob Gustafson met with selectmen. Gustafson came before the board on November 22, stating that he has concerns about preserving the CIP process in Windham.
According to Gustafson, the importance of maintaining a CIP seems to be deteriorating in the Town of Windham. “We’re trying to address all the capital needs of the town, while keeping taxes from spiking,” Gustafson said. The purpose of a CIP is to spread out anticipated large expenses
over a number of years and, thereby, minimize the tax impact on residents. Windham’s CIP Committee deals with both town and school projects, attempting to schedule major expenditures at intervals, so that they don’t all need to be accomplished in a short span of time. Until 2000, when a total revaluation of Windham was done, $1.44 of the annual tax rate was designated for capital improvement projects. Following that revaluation, the amount set aside was reduced to only 75 cents of the annual tax rate. A new town-wide revaluation was done this past spring and summer. The impact of that procedure has, apparently, not changed the 75 cents per $1,000 property valuation designated for capital improvement projects. As population growth in Windham continues to increase, any needs brought about by this growth should be addressed through
capital planning, Gustafson said. In reference to limiting capital spending to result in no more than 75 cents on the tax rate, Gustafson said he feels this is subverting the process. “Where do we draw the line in setting an arbitrary figure?” he asked. “If we keep cutting [the CIP], now, we’re going to have some big bills come due down the road.” This year, the CIP called for projects totaling $720,000. The proposal for 2011, however, totals $1.18 million for CIP projects. This is an increase of $468,000 over what was approved for 2010. Selectman Galen Stearns said that he wants to keep CIP projects
at a level no higher than it is for 2010 ($720,000). “The CIP has worked well over the past 25 years,” Stearns said, “but it needs to be revisited, due to hard economic times.” Town officials should have recommended establishing Capital Reserve Funds (CRF) for large expenditures, back during “the good times,” he said. “But, unfortunately, they didn’t do that.” Selectmen’s Chairman Charles McMahon agreed with Stearns
that town officials “have to be cognizant that we are in a recession.” In this case, McMahon said, “Arbitrary means that we have to understand the ability of the taxpayer to pay.” McMahon also said that he wanted “to make it clear” that the CIP Committee is not the town’s budget committee. “In Windham, that’s the selectmen’s job,” he told Gustafson. Selectmen will be discussing any proposed CIP proposals during the next few weeks. The final 2011 budget recommendations are due by the end of December.
Pelham Good Neighbor Fund Accepts Donation
submitted by Frank Sullivan, Pelham Good Neighbor Fund Chris Mearn (right), representing Rubicon Real Estate, owner
of the Pelham Plaza, presented to Frank Sullivan, President of the Pelham Good Neighbor Fund, $750 in food gift cards to help our Neighbors In Need during the holiday season.
“Just another day at the office…” Charlie with
Outdoors Gift Ideas
This holiday season, consider one of these great gift ideas when shopping for anyone in your life who loves to spend time outdoors. And while you’re at it, pick something up for yourself. This holiday, give the gift of successful fishing to the angler in your life with the Shakespeare Catch More Fish Combo (www.Sh
). Using high-quality components to ensure success, the Shakespeare Catch More Fish Combo provides gift givers with a $15- 25 savings by offering the rod, reel, line, bait, and tackle in a single package. Plus, anglers get the quality assurance that comes with the Shakespeare, Berkley, and Stren names. The Shakespeare Catch More Fish Combo has everything needed for a successful day on the water. (MSRP $29.99-$39.99) Coleman Instant Tent: Tents big enough for the entire family usually take the entire family to set up. With the new Coleman Instant Tent (Coleman.com
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) monofilament fishing line provides extra strength while remaining more flexible and easier to cast with less memory and better handling than others in its class. Brute Strength is available in Clear/Blue Fluorescent and Lo-Vis Green and offered in pound tests ranging from 6 to 40 pounds. (MSRP $7.95-$15.95) Coleman Ultra High Power LED Aluminum Flashlight: Whenever
the power goes out, the outdoor enthusiast in your life will be ready with the Ultra High Power LED Aluminum Flashlight from Coleman (Coleman.com
). Never before has so much power been contained within a single flashlight, which produces 500 night-shattering lumens with six, easy-to-find AA batteries. Using a Cree MC-ET LED, among the brightest and most powerful LEDs available, the new Coleman aluminum flashlight is weather-resistant, making it perfect for camping and other outdoor activities. (MSRP $79.99) A big thank-you to my friends at Blue Herron Communication for the help!
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