10 - June 6, 2014 | Pelham - Windham News Expert Witness Hired for Pole Tax Court Case
by Barbara O’Brien Thirty-fi ve communities in New Hampshire, including Windham, are currently taking joint action against FairPoint Communications for its stance on the assessment of a municipal pole tax. FairPoint is arguing that the enactment of this tax is both unconstitutional and a form of double taxation, since it already pays the state telecommunications tax. This particular municipal tax applies to utility poles belonging to
any telecommunications company. However, FairPoint, being the largest land-line phone company in New Hampshire, is receiving the highest tax bills from cities and towns all over the state. The issue of whether or not and how communities can tax utility poles has been in the courts since the mid-1990s, when the City of Rochester started taxing poles that belonged to Verizon, which later sold its land-line business to FairPoint Communications, out of North Carolina. As a result of the initial court action, the state legislature
Derry-Salem Elks Holds Youth Awards Banquet
submitted by Joseph Morawski Derry-Salem Elks Lodge 2226 named their
Teenagers and Junior Teenagers of the Year at their annual Youth Banquet on May 6. This local festivity has been part of Elks Lodges celebrating the fi rst week of May as Elks National Youth Week. Participating schools submit the names and portfolios of the Teen/Jr. Teen of the Month to the Elks Youth Award Committee for judging. Junior Teens of the Month from Woodbury
Junior High School are Mackenna Nicole Fili, Tyler Glynn, Edward Graziano, Niko Karantonis, Emma Stanganelli, and Katelyn Tetu. Teens of the Month from Salem High School are
Andria Auger, Jordanne Miller, Johnna Skourtis, Danielle Smith, and Erika Smith. Teens of the Month from Windham High School
are Olivia Bono, Samantha Broady, Bethany Fennessey, Alexander Fitzgerald, Joseph Forti, Emily Matsco, Meghan O’Connor, Haley Pereira, Timothy Raymond, and Brandon Smith. Exalted Ruler Diane Rogers presented the
awards to this year’s winners. The 2013-2014 Junior Teens of the Year are Mackenna Nicole Fili and Tyler Glynn. The Teens of the Year Scholarship winners are Bethany Fennessey from Windham High School and Salem High’s Jordanne Miller. Recognition was also given out to local youths
who participated in Derry-Salem Youth programs. Aidan Kane and George Welch were honored for being New Hampshire State Elks Hoop Shoot champions. Last year’s Exalted Ruler, Joseph Morawski Jr., gave Meghan Prince her award as NH Elks Americanism Essay Contest winner for Grades 7 & 8, while Amaya Behsman won in the Grades 5 and 6 category. They wrote about “What Does Veterans Day Mean To Me.” Caroline Choiniere and Abby Larnard received second and third places, respectively, in the NH Elks Drug- Awareness Essay Contest.
renewed an exemption for telecommunications companies, year after year. The reason behind these continued exemptions was to prevent these companies from being disproportionately burdened in competing with wireless providers. Until July of 2010, telephone poles and conduits were exempt from local property taxes, although identical poles owned by electric companies were taxed. That scenario changed, however, beginning in 2011, when the state legislature voted not to extend the exemption on telecommunication poles. One of the issues concerning FairPoint is that different communities are placing different values on its utility poles; ranging from $100 each all the way up to $1,000 per pole.
In anticipation of being able to collect an extensive amount of additional revenue, the Town of Windham had the telecommunications poles and conduits appraised by a Texas fi rm that specializes in this fi eld. The cost of that appraisal was $36,500.
As the result of the appraisal, Windham picked up an additional $153,000 in new taxable valuation. Due to the ongoing court case, however, none of that tax money has been able to be collected. As the case draws closer to trial, offi cials from all the involved municipalities believe an expert witness is required to testify in this matter. As a result, Windham selectmen voted unanimously (5 to 0) to hire George Sansoucy, deemed to be the local expert on this issue. Sansoucy, whose business is located in Newington, N.H., has been working in this fi eld for the past 34 years. Windham’s share of the cost is not to exceed $6,000. The money will be taken from the town’s 2014 legal budget. FairPoint Communications has already received permission from the State Public Utilities Commission to pass this tax along to its customers should FairPoint lose the court case.
Two Windham Middle School Students Recognized as Scholars/Leaders
submitted by New Hampshire Association for Middle Level Education Andrew MacCausland and Courtney Costa, students at Windham Middle
School, were honored at the 15th Annual Scholar Leader Awards Banquet, held at the Center of New Hampshire in Manchester on May 29. The students were presented with an award whose criteria included demonstrating academic initiative and scholarship, providing service to classmates and school, exemplifying positive attitudes, and demonstrating leadership in classroom and school activities.
More than 375 guests, including students, educators and parents, attended Windham Girl Scouts have a Spring Fling
this year’s banquet, which celebrated the achievements of middle level students who are representative of the many outstanding young adolescents in middle level school in New Hampshire. The guests included 78 students from 39 schools from all over the state. The Middle Scholar Leaders Award is organized annually by the New Hampshire Association for Middle Level Education and the New England League of Middle Schools, with supporting sponsorship from Lifetouch National School Studios.
submitted by Sue Rochford On Sunday, June 1, over 100 Windham Girl Scouts had a fabulous time on the ropes course, boating, and playing fi eld games. In addition to it being a picture-perfect day, girls played with friends, tried new experiences, worked as a team, and just plain had a blast outdoors. Don’t miss out. You, too, can have fun like these girls. Any girl can be a Girl Scout. Girls grade K-12 (September 2014) can join. Adult volunteer opportunities exist as well. For more information, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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