Written by Debra Thornblad
GORHAM – Gorham selectmen reviewed an updated list of properties eligible for tax deeding Monday, but made no decision on taking any property that night.
The first report, reviewed two weeks ago, included all properties owing taxes, even if they weren't eligible for deeding at this time and the list was by property number, not street address. This update included just the properties eligible for deeding and their street address.
The report shows a total of 41 properties that could be deeded. It does not include property owned by Munce, which is in bankruptcy, or by John Gleason, which the Internal Revenue Service has liened. The total amount owned by the 41 properties is $267,024. Munce owes $115,000 and Gleason $25,000.
Frost said she had hoped to have everything selectmen needed to make a decision that night, but she was still waiting for some information from legal counsel to make sure the process is done correctly.
Selectman Bill Jackson said he is concerned about how the town has traditionally handled taxes owned in the mobile home parks, particularly Gateway.
"A certain number of properties get in this situation. We sit down with Gateway and take our lumps," he said. "Trailers get run down, are hauled off, the town is out tax money, Gateway gets the lot, a new trailer goes on and it starts over again," he said.
Frost said when all the information from the attorney is in, the board will have to look at the property, see if there are any special circumstances with it (such as environmental issues), and make a decision on whether or not to take it.
Regarding the Currier property, Frost said Building Inspector John Scarinza and Fire Chief Rick Eichler have already been up there looking the property over in anticipation of the town taking it. They are working to find out what exactly is on the property and the town is also trying to find out what to do with personal property on site, Frost said.
Speaking about late taxes, Jay Holmes, owner of Jay's Quick Lube, placed blame on the economy.
"You'll be seeing a lot more if you don't get your spending under control," he said.
He suggested the town stop door-to-door service for things like garbage collection on property where the streets are privately owned and instead collect garbage at a central location. He said he was worried about Gorham becoming more of a thru town for those interested in ATVs.
"If Berlin gets a motel, they're going to trump us," he said.
He urged selectmen to take a stronger stand than they have to date in favor of allowing ATVs to access downtown area businesses. The town was built on manufacturing, but that's gone. It needs to focus on being a destination, he said.
Conway has been branded as the Mount Washington Valley. He urged selectmen to support labeling Gorham as the Upper Mount Washington Valley.
Selectmen said they have been supportive of allowing ATVs to access the town. But the board said it is waiting to hear from N.H. Trails Bureau head Chris Gamache, who is working on OHRV trails in the North Country, on his recommendations for Gorham.
In other business, selectmen approved a plan for sewer, water and roadwork on Third Street. The water and sewer department is extending service up that street and at the same time public works will work on drainage issues.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 07 May 2013 22:33
Written by Barbara Tetreault
One, at 3 Glen Avenue, will clean up the southern entrance to the downtown and provide general and handicap parking. The other, at 115 Mason Street, will expand an existing park to provide a small playground and community garden space. In both cases, the land was or will be obtained from demolishing dilapidated buildings the city obtained through tax deed.
Housing Coordinator Linda White reported that Cross Excavation was the low bidder, at $36,952, to demolish the building at 3 Glen Avenue. Part of the lot will be surfaced with concrete pavement or pavers and the rest will be used to create a total of 11 parking spaces with three handicap slots to accommodate the patrons of the Holiday Center. White said she met with officials from the Holiday Center and they have agreed to shovel and keep the paver area picked up. The city has talked about placing a bench there and some landscaping. White said she has also met with Don Rivard, who owns the other abutting property and he is happy with the plans.
The lot has 80 feet of frontage and the planning board approved a 24-foot curb cut.
White said she has about $67,000 for the project, including the demolition, in Neighborhood Stabilization Program grant funds.
She said the project will improve the appearance of the Glen Avenue entrance to the downtown, provide needed handicap parking for the Holiday Center, and provide additional downtown parking.
Councilor Roland Theberge asked about lighting for the area and White admitted she hadn't thought about the need for lighting there. Mayor Paul Grenier suggested the city wait to see if lighting is needed. If so, he suggested maybe the city could get permission to attach a light to the Holiday Center building. Community Development Director Pamela Laflamme said if it is determined a light is needed, the Moving Downtown Forward committee might be willing to cover the cost.
Grenier said demolishing the building and creating the small park/parking lot will completely change the complexity of the downtown.
White said the project should get underway by early June.
The other project, developed by city staff, calls for a mixed-use park and community garden area at 115 Mason Street. Former Housing Coordinator Andre Caron created a small park area a couple of years ago at the corner of Granite and Mason Streets but the city postponed developing the park further because it appeared the city would obtain the 115 Mason Street property by tax deed. The city did get the property and earlier this year demolished the building.
The city has $26,750 left from its first NSP grant for the project. White developed a budget that includes some playground equipment, picnic tables, and fencing for the park. She also include in the budget money for summer playground staff time and park maintenance. Money for the raised garden beds and soil will be covered by funds from a Healthy Eating Active Living grant.
There will be parking at the site for three cars. Initial plans call for 12 to 14 raised garden beds that will be assigned to interested residents through Berlin Parks and Recreation.
White said she hopes to get the project underway immediately so the park can be available for use this summer. The council formally voted to approve both projects.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 07 May 2013 22:33
Written by Barbara Tetreault
Wayne Ainsworth, 55, of Dalton is alleged to have pointed a 20-gauge shotgun at a Dalton man and firing a single shot into the air at 205 Whitefield Road in Dalton on April 26 according to the Caledonian Record newspaper. Ainsworth was arraigned and ordered held on $30,000 cash bail. A probably cause hearing is scheduled for May 13.
In April 2012, Ainsworth's spouse, Joseph Besk, was killed and Ainsworth wounded by Christopher Smith. Police ruled Smith committed suicide after shooting the couple. The three men all lived in Dalton at the time.
Ainsworth and Besk were both convicted sex offenders who met while incarcerated at the Northern N.H. Correctional Facility in Berlin. The two married in a Jan 2010 ceremony at the Berlin prison shortly after New Hampshire allowing same sex marriages took effect. The pair was the first same sex couple to be married within the state prison system where Besk was still incarcerated at the time of the wedding. Ainsworth had been released from prison in July 2006, after serving close to 12 years for an aggravated felonious sexual assault conviction.
The wedding of Ainsworth and Besk was the subject of a Jan 22, 2010 story in the Berlin Daily Sun that generated considerable controversy. Many people objected to the decision to run the story on the front page.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 07 May 2013 22:32
By Debra Thornblad
Last Updated on Monday, 06 May 2013 20:41
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