Pelham-Windham News

Princess Day at the Pelham Public Library

Over sixty little princesses and princes met Snow White at Pelham Public Library.

When Snow White asked if they could keep a secret, they all giggled yes.  She entertained them with a song and read “So you want to be a Princess” to them.  

Snow White shows a magic wand to two smaller princesses.

When she brought out her magical wand and taught them how to use it, they were amazed.  

Each princess had an opportunity to have her picture taken with Snow White before she helped them make a take-away craft.

Princess Rose Goyette, 19 months, gazes at the sixty other princesses who came to see Snow White.

Windham Llamas Have Been Keeping Folks Entertained for 10 Years

Llamas are great pets.  They are quiet, gentle animals requiring little care.  They are wonderful with children, tolerating busy hands, and loud voices. 

Polar Bear and Lakota belong to Judy and Brian Daley of Windham.  They brought the pet llamas home on May 5, 1995.  Since that time, the llamas have been inside school classrooms and nursing homes for educational and therapeutic purposes.  Polar Bear allows children to ride on his back with the use of a special saddle. 

Elisha Miller riding Polar, while brother Ezra holds the lead rope.

The llamas also "dress up", in costume, to walk in parades and have been representatives of walk-a-thon fundraising events.  The Daleys have taken them mountain climbing, backpacking, but mostly like to go for walks around the neighborhood. 

It would seem everybody knows "the llama house" in Windham! 

DRA Urges Special Town Meeting for Pelham to Gain Funding

by Lynne Ober

After Pelham’s town operating budget was defeated in March, Selectman Ed Gleason wanted to know what that meant to Pelham so he contacted New Hampshire Department of Revenue (DRA) about the loss of funding for the property revaluation.

As Selectmen worked with DRA at a variety of meetings, they began to understand their options were limited and decided to have DRA Commissioner G. Philip Blatsos attend a Selectmen’s meeting.  Gleason presented a dozen questions that Selectmen wanted to have addressed and sent those to Blatsos so that he would bring the appropriate staff with him to fully answer the questions.

Blatsos told Selectmen that the bottom line is that there will be a revaluation.  “If voters thought by voting no, that this wouldn’t get done, they were wrong,” he stated.  He explained that property revaluation needed to be done every five years as part of a mandate in the New Hampshire Constitution. 

Pelham has not had a revaluation since 1997.  Blatsos told Selectmen that prior to a number of court cases, the first being the Claremont Case, the five year revaluation had not been enforced.  “Now we have case law that mandates that we must keep current with that constitutional requirement and it is my duty to preserve the state first and to work with communities second.”

From Left to Right Victor Danevich, DRA Commissioner G. Philip Blatsos, and Guy L. Petell, Manager of the Bureau of Assessment.

At this point the DRA has no option except to send Pelham’s lack of reval to the Board of Taxation and Land Appeals (BTLA), who can order a revaluation and require that the state pay it and then add it to Pelham’s tax rate after it is done.  In response to a question from Board of Selectmen Chairman Victor Danevich, Blatsos told Selectmen that twenty-four other towns had already been sent to the BTLA and in all twenty-four cases, the BTLA ordered a state-run revaluation, which costs taxpayers more money than a locally run revaluation.

Selectmen questioned Blatsos and his staff about the costs associated with a state run revaluation.  Although they were unwilling to say how much more it would cost, they could delineate the additional costs.

According to Guy L. Petell, Manager of the Bureau of Assessment, a RFP will be sent out, bids received, a contract awarded and the work done.  Both he and Blatsos outlined the additional costs that Pelham would pay:

  • Work done on the RFP and contract award will be billed.  If done at the town level, that work is covered by staff who are already on salary.
  • Many firms will not bid when the DRA will run the costs because of the additional over-site and those who do build in extra dollars for the work required to cover the costs of that additional over-site.
  • They will choose the lowest bidder, who may or may not use the same software as the Town.  Then the Town must pay to convert the data to their software system (in this case Vision) or buy new software.
  • Since conversion of data is impractical, Towns who have gone through a BTLA reval process, typically purchase new software.  Then the Town needs to pay for installation and for staff training on the new software.
  • The DRA bills for the work that they do.  “We’ll have legal, mailing, document preparation and a variety of administrative work that we will bill to you on top of the revaluation,” explained Petell.  “That work is usually done at the Town level and included in salaries that you already pay people on your staff.  It adds to the cost.”

Blatsos said, “Once you [meaning Town of Pelham] lose control, you lose control.  We no longer work for you.  Instead we work for the BTLA.  We will try to coordinate with you, but our responsibility is to complete the reval as ordered by the BTLA.”

When Selectman Tom Domenico probed the timeline, Blatsos told him that Pelham was already on a “watch list” because their reval was to be done in 2006.  “Without a signed contract, we will move forward to the BTLA even if you tell us that you will again put it on the ballot in 2007.  However, if you appropriate money now and sign a contract, we would probably hold that [going to the BTLA] in abeyance.”

When asked what he thought was the best action for Pelham Selectmen to take now, Blatsos emphatically stated, “Hold a Special Town Meeting.  Appropriate the funds and do this on your own.  You will have control and it will cost less.”

Responding to a question about best practices once a reval is complete, Blatsos told Selectmen that a number of towns continued to do a 25 percent reval every year and by the time that the five year period rolled around again, Towns weren’t faced with a huge bill and the job was done.  “We would definitely work with you on that process.”

Danevich thanked him for coming and for working with the Town, noting that he had given Selectmen a lot of good information.  He pointed out that that the meeting was being televised and would run on the local cable access channel for the next two weeks so that residents had a chance to hear the information.

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