The Union Leaders reports:
A former Kingswood Regional High School English teacher has been indicted on charges he possessed child sex abuse images, witness tampering and falsifying physical evidence.
Michael T. Harbrook, 48, of Tilton, surrendered his teaching credentials in February of 2017 after a police investigation was sparked by an allegation of inappropriate contact with a student.
On June 21, a Belknap County grand jury handed up indictments charging Harbrook with possessing four image files of a minor engaged in sexually explicit contact between June 1, 2015 and Aug. 31, 2015.
The Lakes Region Humane Society has 24 kittens out in foster care already. LRHS on the prowl for more dedicated foster homes to care for and socialize kittens until they are old enough for adoption (8 weeks).
Placing kittens in foster homes helps by freeing up space in the shelter to allow for more adult cat placements, it keeps disease transmission to a minimum and provides better socialization and enrichment opportunities to kittens as they grow.
Foster requirements vary. Caring for kittens who are old enough to eat on their own but are not old enough for adoption provides a fun and basic foster experience. Overseeing births and tending to newborn kittens requires more advanced foster assistance.
Fostering is a great way to give back, learn something new, and gain access to unlimited kitten snuggling. Take the first step to becoming a foster home by submitting a foster care application in person.
If you have questions about becoming a foster home please give us a call 603-539-1077.
Lakes Region Humane Society
11 Old Rt. 28, PO Box 655, Ossipee, NH 03864
At this morning’s library open house, I proposed a compromise on the library. I hope that the library crowd will see the merits of compromise.
Continue reading “A Compromise on the Library?”
We’re in a pickle here in town because the Selectmen failed to hold a statutorily required public hearing on the $1 million bond/note (i.e., loan) that is needed for the library renovation project.
If, on March 14 at Town Meeting, the Selectmen and Town Moderator hold a vote on the library-addition article, that vote will have no legal bearing. It cannot, because there has been no prior public hearing. Without a prior, public hearing on the bond — WHICH IS REQUIRED BY LAW — the vote on the bond is not actionable.
The selectmen want to hold the public hearing on the loan after Town Meeting, even though the law requires the hearing to be held “at least 15 days, but not more than 60 days prior” to Town Meeting. Then they want to convene a special Town Meeting in April to vote — for real this time — on the library-addition article.
What the Selectmen didn’t say during this afternoon’s meeting is that a special, second Town Meeting cannot appropriate (i.e., decide to spend) any money unless the total number of ballots cast at the special Town Meeting is at least 1/2 the number of registered voters at the most recent, previous annual election. Perhaps the selectmen didn’t mention this because they don’t know about it.
Here is the relevant statute (emphasis added):
RSA 31:5 At Special Meetings. –
I. (a) No money shall be raised or appropriated or shall any appropriation previously made be reduced or rescinded at any special town meeting except by vote by ballot, nor unless the ballots cast at such meeting shall be equal in number to at least 1/2 of the number of legal voters borne on the checklist of the town entitled to vote at the annual or biennial election next preceding such special meeting; and such checklist, corrected according to law, shall be used at any meeting upon the request of 10 legal voters of the town. This section shall not apply to money to be raised for the public defense or any military purpose in time of war.
The phrase, “election next preceding such special meeting” is a little confusing at first. Does it mean “the next” election or the “preceding” election? What it means is the most recent — the closest — election that preceded the special election.
There were 1,973 registered voters at last year’s town election, according to the supervisors of the checklist. For the sake of argument, let us say that the same number of voters are on the checklist (i.e., voter roll) this year.
In order to pass the library-addition article at a special Town Meeting, at least 987 ballots would have to be cast.
Note that the requirement is 1/2 ballots cast, not voters in attendance.
I can tell you right now that I would attend such a special Town Meeting, but I would not cast a ballot, and I would implore anyone else in attendance who opposed the the library addition to also not cast a ballot.
So, practically speaking, if all of the Nay voters withheld their ballots, then 987 votes would have to be cast in favor in order for the article to pass.
It’s quite obvious why a special Town Meeting cannot legally raise or appropriate amounts of money (or reduce or rescind already appropriated money) unless the total ballots cast are at least equal to 1/2 the number of registered voters.
Absent that requirement, a very small number of voters could show up at the special Town Meeting and completely subvert the will of the regular Town Meeting. For instance, if 3o people showed up; it would take only 21 of them to reverse what 350 voters had decided the month before at the regular Town Meeting.
At the regular Town Meeting in 2015, the last time there was a warrant article for a new, $2.3 million library, there were 536 total ballots cast on the library article.¹
It is not realistic to believe that nearly a thousand ballots — almost twice as many as in 2015 — would be cast at a special Town Meeting.
- For that warrant article, there was a public bond/note hearing prior to Town Meeting, as required by law, on February 9, 2015.
The current placement of the first two warrant articles to be voted on at Town Meeting is incorrect and not allowed by law, Town Moderator Dan Barnard confirmed to me yesterday.
These are the warrant articles in question, in the order currently listed in the 2018 Tuftonboro Town Report:
Article 03: To see if the Town will vote to extend the purposes of the previously established Library Capital Reserve Fund to include expansion and renovation of the existing library building. This Capital Reserve Fund was established by vote at Town Meeting in March, 2010 as Article 12 on the Town Warrant “for the purpose of building a new library.” Furthermore to name the Board of Selectmen as agents to expend from the fund.
(Two-Thirds (2/3) vote required)
(Recommended by the Board of Selectmen 3-0)
Article 04: To see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate the sum of One Million, Nine Hundred Twenty Thousand Dollars ($1,920,000.00) to renovate and expand the current Library and to authorize the issuance of not more than One Million Ninety Four Thousand Dollars ($1,094,000.00) of bonds or notes in accordance with the provisions of the Municipal Finance Act (RSA Chapter 33); to authorize the selectmen to issue and negotiate such bonds and notes and to determine the rate of interest thereon and the maturity and other terms thereof. Furthermore, to authorize the withdrawal of Four Hundred Sixteen Thousand Dollars ($416,000.00) from the existing Library Capital Reserve Fund and Four Hundred Ten Thousand Dollars ($410,000.00) from the Library Capital Donations Fund. The first payment on the bond or note will not be made until year 2019.
(Two-Thirds (2/3) ballot vote required per RSA 33:8-a)
(Recommended by the Board of Selectmen 2-0-1 and the Budget Committee 6-1)
A quick note on the numbers of the articles: Town Meeting on Wednesday, March 14, at 7:30PM begins with article #3. Article #1 is to choose elected officials and article #2 is to changing a zoning ordinance. Those will be voted on by ballot on the prior day, March 13, at the Town House.
The selectmen are responsible for preparing the articles, but did not follow RSA 33:8-a:II, which states:
All articles appearing in the warrant which propose a bond or note issue exceeding $100,000 shall appear in consecutive numerical order and shall be acted upon prior to other business except the election of officers, action on the adoption, revision, or amendment of a municipal charter, and zoning matters or as otherwise determined by the voters at the meeting. Polls shall remain open and ballots shall be accepted by the moderator on each such article, for a period of not less than one hour following the completion of discussion on each respective article. A separate ballot box shall be provided for each bond article to be voted upon pursuant to this section.
The key phrase, which I bolded: “…shall be acted upon prior to other business.”
Michelle Clark of the New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration advised Diane Falcey, the selectmen’s administrative assistant, that the library-addition warrant article had to be moved to the first position in accordance with law, on January 25:
Diane then reported that she had moved the library-addition article “to 1st money article” and that “[warrant article] is now 03” (from 04).
And yet, the library-addition article was subsequently moved back to #4.
The selectmen did not follow the statute and ignored advice from the state department of revenue.
The reason the selectmen (and the library trustees) wanted the library-addition article to be voted on after the change-of-purpose article, as I understand it, is that the library-addition article is dependent on the roughly $400,000 in the capital reserve fund.
Just to be very clear: I am not alleging that the articles are in the wrong order — I am stating a fact, which has been confirmed by Dan yesterday and by Michelle Clark on January 25.
Speaking on Saturday, Tuftonboro Treasurer Jack Widmer misleadingly stated that state representative Glenn Cordelli (R-Tuftonboro) had co-sponsored a bill that would have raised the school tax rate in Tuftonboro.
“That particular bill, unfortunately, was co-sponsored by Clay [sic] Cordelli, our state representative,” Jack said.
Although Glenn initially put his name on the bill as a co-sponsor, he withdrew his support when the final text of the bill was made available. In fact, he not only voted against the bill in the Education Committee, Glenn was the one who made the motion to kill the bill.
From page seven of the February 2, 2018, House Record:
HB 1452, relative to equalized property valuation used to apportion expenses in cooperative school districts.
INEXPEDIENT TO LEGISLATE.
Rep. Glenn Cordelli for Education. There are 33 cooperative school districts. Each has an existing and differing agreement on the apportionment formula to determine the amount to be paid by each town. While this bill raises the valid discussion of the formula of attendance vs. town equalized valuation, it would not be appropriate for the state to intercede in these local agreements. Vote 19-0.
When informed that Glenn had voted against the final bill, Jack tried to dismiss that fact by saying: “My feeling about that is, and not to get into an argument about it, but, my feeling is, you don’t put your name on a bill unless you know what you’re putting your name on.”
This seems petty to me. There are many reasons to co-sponsor a bill initially, before the text of a bill is finalized. What I think matters most is the final vote.
The fact of the matter, no matter whether Jack tries to brush it aside, is that Glenn voted against the bill.
Here is Jack’s entire presentation on Saturday (discussion of education bills starts around the 7:00 mark).
It turns out Jack gave wrong information about the potential tax affect of taking out a loan for the library addition and renovation. Paul Matlock corrected the record on the adjoining post:
There is an error in the presentation. When asked, Jack reports that the tax rate could be as low as 2.5 cents per thousand which would mean a $200,000 house would pay only an extra $5 a year. After the meeting, I started wondering about this. Jack has since confirmed that the added tax would be 10 plus cents for the principal payment with the finance cost added to this. My estimate is up to 14 cents per thousand, meaning that that 200,000 house would pay an extra $28 a year.
Sorry for the confusion.
The Union Leader:
OSSISPEE — A former Effingham resident charged with selling the fentanyl heroin mix that killed Joshua Fournier of Tuftonboro in September 2016 could be released in 6 1/2 years following his sentencing Wednesday.
Under a plea agreement with the state, Andrew Garland, 22, must complete a substance abuse treatment program while incarcerated and take advantage of other educational opportunities for early release from the 12- to 24-year sentence. He could have faced a maximum penalty of life in prison.
“I would like to apologize to the Fournier family for the part I played in the death of Joshua. Although I did not know him, I feel remorseful and horrible for my actions and that my addiction has taken the life of another individual,” Garland said before he became so emotional that he asked his public defender, Steve Mirkin, to read the rest.
Assistant Attorney General Danielle Sakowski, who prosecuted the case, told the judge the victim’s father, Michael Fournier, opposed the proposed deal, believing it was too lenient.
“He did not believe he was emotionally capable of being here today,” the prosecutor said. The elder Fournier discovered his 22-year-old son dead in the basement of the home they shared. The state medical examiner ruled the cause of death as acute fentanyl intoxication.
The 22nd annual Tuftonboro Holiday Festival will be November 11 & 12. The Festival is a weekend in Tuftonboro during which residents share their interests, creations and holiday spirit in their homes and businesses. On offer will be clothing, jewelry, soaps, wreaths, baked goods, and more.
Local businesses the Garden Cape, For Every Season, Full Moon Fashions, and GeezLouise will also be open on Friday (November 8) from 5-8PM for a preview of the weekend.
Follow the Tuftonboro Holiday Festival Facebook page for more updates.
August 25-27 is Old Home Days in Tuftonboro. Click here for the schedule of events.