Alvirne Hockey Celebrates First Win

by Len Lathrop

Rob LeBourdais taking a collision infront of the penalty box

Led by Senior Captain Dan White, Alvirne defeated Merrimack High School at the Skate 3 Arena on Wednesday, January 14.  With a goal from the right side of the net at 5:14, the Broncos have their first win of this season.  With two goals within the 5:00 mark of the third period, the young Broncos were almost uncontrollable as the clock ran out on Merrimack and Alvirne took a 5-4 score under the stands to the locker room.  White had two goals and an assist, and Jacob Aubin, Rob LeBourdals, and Josh Steele also put the puck in the net for the team in white and maroon.  Senior goalie Tyler Auclair saved 22 shots in a game that was tough in front of the net, with Auclair sparring outside the circle to cover the puck.  The skaters from Hudson outshot Merrimack 32-26.  With only 4 seniors on the squad, the young team is 1-6 in Division 2 play and 1-9 overall for the season.

See the skaters on Saturday at Skate 3 as they face off against Goffstown at 3:30 pm.

Dan White and John DeCosta bringing the puck out of the end

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Alvirne Wrestlers Lose to Bishop Guertin

by Sue LaRoche

Junior Jeremy Baker

On Wednesday, January 14, the Broncos hosted Bishop Guertin in a home wrestling meet but came up short, losing by the score of 42-27. 

The Broncos started out well as Mike Duquette won the 189 match 16-15 to give Alvirne a 3-0 lead, followed by 215 Jeremy Baker who won 7-5 in overtime to increase the lead to 6-0.  Caleb Thompson lost the 285 match, while Josh Metivier won by forfeit, giving Alvirne their last lead of the night with a score of 12-6. 

Zach Breen, Devon Gregory, Eric Dupont, and John Campbell all lost their matches, but Mike Harris (140) won 6-2, making the match score 30-15 in favor of Bishop Guertin.  John Porter gave Alvirne the first pin of the evening in the 145-pound weight class, narrowing the gap to 30-21.  Tyler Dube and Doug Albertson couldn’t come up with victories in the 152- and 160-pound weight classes.  Tom Eldridge provided Alvirne with the final pin of the match, bringing the final score to 42-27. 

Campbell High wrestler Mark Fiasconaro, wrestling with Alvirne since Campbell does not have a team, lost to Nick Christie and Mike Duquette in the 189-pound weight class.

The Broncos will host their final home match on February 4 against Manchester Central.

Freshman Devon Gregory

Junior Tom Eldredge

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Budget Adjusted after Public Hearing

by Lynne Ober

Litchfield Selectmen met immediately after last week’s required public hearing on the budget and voted to reduce the default budget.

With Litchfield Budget Committee and Selectmen meeting simultaneously after the public hearing, Selectman George Lambert moved between the two meetings, leading Budget Committee Chairman Brent Lemire to quip that Lambert probably needed travel money.  Lambert, the selectmen’s budget representative, provided up-to-the-minute information to budget committee members as selectmen worked on their budget adjustments.

According to Board of Selectmen Chairman Frank Byron, “After the meeting, the BOS cut the $30,000 from the police budget for the additional cruiser; now the default contains one cruiser rather than two.”  With this cut, the default budget currently matches the number of cruisers purchased in this year’s operating budget.  RSA 40 outlines the specifics for default budgets and states, “’Default budget’ as used in this subdivision means the amount of the same appropriations as contained in the operating budget authorized for the previous year, reduced and increased, as the case may be, by debt service, contracts, and other obligations previously incurred or mandated by law, and reduced by one-time expenditures contained in the operating budget.”  Keeping one cruiser in this year’s default budget meets the criteria to keep the same appropriations as contained in the previous year’s operating budget.

“Using the correct default number of $4,361,068 and subtracting the deletions above, you should have a new default value of $4,087,719,” stated Byron.  “I anticipate that this is what will be signed for the warrant posting next week.”

After discussion from the floor about using Highway Block Grant funding to support the Winter Circle project, selectmen decided to do this.  The warrant article read at the public hearing, “To see if the town will vote to raise and appropriate the amount of $253,378 for the design and construction of a drainage system located at Winter Circle; $165,394 of this amount will come from a FEMA grant, with the balance of $87,984 to be raised by taxation.  This appropriation shall be non-lapsing per RSA 32:7, VI and will not lapse until the work is completed on or before December 31, 2013.”

Litchfield resident Bill Spencer asked why Highway Block Grant money was not being used to cover the town’s portion of $87,984.  He pointed out that the town had that money available from grant funding and that, by doing so, this project would be completely covered without the need to raise any taxes via the town’s property tax.

Highway Block Grant money is provided to every town in New Hampshire for road work.  The funding for this grant comes from the gasoline tax collected by the state.  So, every time you fill up your vehicle, you contribute a gas tax.  Some of that money comes back to the towns to fund projects needed to keep their road infrastructure in good condition.  Using the funds to stop flooding for a roadway would be an excellent use of these funds, and, after the meeting, selectmen agreed with Spencer’s suggestion.

“Additionally, the Road Maintenance Default budget line was cut from $511,490 to $268,141 for an additional savings of $243,349,” said Byron.  “The cut was to correct a mistake of including some of the culvert work in the default that is now in warrant articles.  Even if the budget failed, the BOS could not do the culvert due to the “’No’ means ‘No’” law.  The BOS had dropped the road maintenance budget but did not back out from the default in the same way.”

According to Byron, selectmen will support a warrant article “to bring to the voters adoption of the RSA 32:5, V-a allowing for recommendations to be placed onto the warrants.”

That section of the Municipal Budget Act (RSA 32) reads, “V-a.  Any town may vote to require that all votes by an advisory budget committee, a town budget committee, and the governing body or, in towns without a budget committee, all votes of the governing body relative to budget items or warrant articles shall be recorded votes and the numerical tally of any such vote shall be printed in the town warrant next to the affected warrant article.”

Byron concluded by noting that selectmen have voted to support both petitioned warrant articles.  One of these allows selectmen to appoint the road agent, and the other supports the adoption of farm structure taxing as found in RSA 79-F.

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Hudson Finances Strong

by Doug Robinson

“The Town of Hudson has always had a history of being conservative when it comes to budgeting,” commented Hudson’s Town Administrator Steve Malizia, “and as a result, we are positioned well financially after our first six months of this fiscal year.  A lot of the credit needs to go out to the selectmen, the department heads, and the Budget Committee, as they are the ones who control the purse strings and the financial future of our town.”

When the financial books closed for the Town of Hudson’s first six months of fiscal 2009 on December 31, 2008, the town clerk’s office reported that “we have collected over 96 percent of the tax revenues due to the Town of Hudson by 12/31/08.”  In contrast, on 12/31/07, the Town of Hudson had collected only 93 percent of the tax revenues due to the town.  The town clerk’s office credits the ability for homeowners to refinance at a lower rate as well as escrow their taxes, to support the higher percentage of those who are paying their taxes.  For those who choose not to pay their taxes, by law, if the Town of Hudson has not received property taxes for a period of 30 days after December 31, the town clerk will report the delinquent property tax bill to the mortgage or holding company.  Last year, over $547,000 in delinquent taxes were submitted to various banks and mortgage companies which held the mortgages on the delinquent Hudson properties.  According to the town clerk, this year’s submittal to the various mortgage holders will be approximately $500,000, or $47,000 less than last year.  This represents a significant savings to Hudson in the terms of both time and legal fees.

The town clerk’s office also reports that motor vehicle registrations have kept up with not only budget estimates but with last year’s numbers as well.  This year, for the period of July 1 to December 31, Hudson residents have registered 14,634 vehicles for a total of $1,834,098.  Last year, Hudson residents, during the same period of time, registered 14,458 vehicles for a total of $1,847,941.  “The numbers would indicate that the residents are either holding onto their cars longer or trading in their SUV’s and trucks and downsizing to a less expensive vehicle.  This year, while we registered 134 more vehicles in the last six months versus last year, our revenues are down around $53,000.”

In the calendar year 2007, the Town of Hudson had approximately 44 home foreclosures out of 509 sales, which represents approximately 8 percent of the sales.  In contrast, for calendar year 2008, the Town of Hudson experienced 64 foreclosures out of 372 sales, or 17 percent.

Upon reviewing the Town of Hudson’s budget vs. actual report for the first six months into their present fiscal cycle, most of the departments are within the town’s established budget.  While the Town of Hudson has been hit with several significant snowfalls, Road Agent Kevin Burns has only spent 63 percent of his allocated budget.  Both the Hudson Police Department and the Hudson Fire Department have spent only 53 percent and 56 percent of their respective budgets, including overtime wages paid due to the affects of the storms of December.

Hudson’s Community Development Department continues to lag behind the estimated revenue with regards to Building Permits, Certificate of Occupancy Permits, Septic Inspecting Fees, Excavation Permits, Driveway Permits, and Health Permits.  However, this is a national trend and is not isolated to the Town of Hudson.

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Highway Block Grant Warrant Articles Should Get a “Yes” Vote

by Lynne Ober

Every spring, towns in New Hampshire vote on municipal and school district budgets.  For many of those towns, the votes come in March, but others vote later in the spring.  Year after year, residents face a warrant article about Highway Block Grants.

Some years, as recently happened in Pelham and Litchfield, voters voted “no” on this warrant.  Those “no” votes might be caused by a misunderstanding.  Of all the warrant articles, the Highway Block Grant fund is a warrant article that will not raise property taxes, if it receives a “yes” vote.

These funds are generated from state revenues and are never generated from property taxes.  According to New Hampshire Department of Transportation [NH DOT], Highway Block Grant Aid funds represent a portion of the state’s highway revenues received in the preceding fiscal year.  There are two ‘pots’ of money from which allotments are made.  The first, identified as Apportionment A, represents 12 percent of the state’s highway revenues.  One half of that ‘pot’ is distributed among the municipalities based on their population in proportion to the entire state’s population and the other half is disbursed based on a municipality’s Class IV and V road mileage in proportion to the total statewide Class IV and V mileage.  In general, the allocation of these funds represents a disbursement of approximately $1,200 for each mile of Class IV and Class V highway inventoried by each municipality and $11 for each person residing in a municipality based on the state planning estimate of population.

By state law, all municipalities in the state having Class IV and V roads are entitled to Highway Block Grant Aid.  RSA 235:23 stipulates the funding apportionments.  Highway Block Grant Aid is distributed to municipalities by the State of New Hampshire on a yearly basis with partial disbursements made four times a year.  Sixty percent of the funds are distributed in the first two payments (30 percent in July and October) and the other 40 percent in the final two payments (20 percent in January and April).  The funds can only be used for construction, reconstruction, and maintenance of each municipality’s Class IV and V roads.  This maintenance can include work done on bridges and culverts as well as on the actual roads.

Every year, municipalities receiving the funds must account for these funds as revenue.  For many towns operating under the Municipal Budget Act and SB2, that means a warrant article will be put in front of the voters.

In towns where voters vote “no” on these warrants, the monies are still received but may not be expended during the coming 12-month period.  As a result, a town that votes down a warrant article specifying the acceptance and use of Highway Block Grants must then raise property tax dollars to work on the roads.

Every year, towns are required to report to NH DOT all changes to the community’s roadway system.  The reported information should include the length and location of all Class IV and V highways reclassified, accepted, and/or discontinued by the municipality that year.  This information is used to calculate next year’s Highway Block Grants.

Be a smart voter; carefully read the March ballots and be prepared to identify those which will need to raise property taxes and those that are designed to accept and expend grants that will have no impact on property tax bills.

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