County commissioners clash over economic development funds

LANCASTER – County Commissioners Tom Brady and Bing Judd clashed over the handling of two additional applications for economic development pilot project funds at the commission’s monthly meeting last week.
Using $45,000 appropriated in the 2012 budget for economic development by the county delegation, the commission allowed the governing body of the county’s 19 communities to apply for up to $5,000.
At their May meeting, the commission reviewed nine applications for the funds and awarded seven. Applications from Colebrook, Jefferson, Berlin, Shelburne, Gorham, and Lancaster were approved. Berlin, Gorham, and Shelburne filed a joint application for $15,000 to help fund Tri-County Community Action Program’s Economic Development Director Max Makaitis. Colebrook had two $5,000 applications approved to develop signage and advertising and to appraise three properties being considered for a town park and information center. Jefferson was awarded $5,000 to develop a website and maps, and Lancaster awarded $5,000 for website development.
Two towns, Northumberland and Stark, were asked to resubmit applications.
County Administrator Sue Collins reported Northumberland had resubmitted an application seeking $5,000 for the Groveton Regional Economic Action Team. The two commissioners approved Northumberland’s application – Commissioner Paul Grenier was absent.
Collins said Jefferson had submitted a second application for $3,000 to create and develop small area maps and print pad maps. Brady, who is a Jefferson selectman, had abstained from the vote but signed the application.
Judd, who is a Pittsburg selectman, said his board also had an application for funding for web site enhancement.
Brady said because the Jefferson and Pittsburg applications came in after the May 11, deadline, the commission was obligated to notify all the towns that it was going to do a second round of applications. Judd disagreed, arguing for consideration of Pittsburg’s application at the June meeting. With the two deadlocked on the issue, Judd, as chairman, ruled the matter tabled. He made it clear he was not happy with Brady’s refusal to consider Pittsburg’s application.
“I hope I can do the same favor to you,” he said.
Later, Brady made a motion to open up a second round of applications with the remaining $5,000 in funding with priority given to towns that had not received funding in the first round. He suggested setting a July 2 deadline and holding a special commission meeting to vote on the applications.
Judd said his board had submitted an application and now he was going to have to tell the other selectmen it was refused.
Brady said he was willing to consider Pittsburg’s application but felt the commission had to follow proper procedures.
“It just can’t be done at a meeting with no notification to the other towns,” he said.
Judd refused to second Brady’s motion and the matter was left unresolved.
The two commissioners did agree on applications for emergency equipment funds. The delegation in March approved adding a $1,000 line item for emergency equipment in each of the 12 unincorporated places with fund balances. Organizations providing emergency services in those places were allowed to apply for up to $1,000 for equipment. The delegation approved allocations for the unincorporated places of Cambridge, Success, Kilkenny, and Atkinson & Gilmanton Academy Grant. The commission advertised it would be accepting applications for the remaining unincorporated places through June 8.
The Colebrook Fire Department was allocated $2,144 to purchase back woods rescue equipment with $1,000 each coming from Dixville and Erving’s Grant, and $144 from Millsfield. The remaining $856 of Millsfield’s allocation went to 45th Parallel Emergency Medical Services to purchase a vacuum spine mattress. The Gorham Fire/EMS Department received $5,950 from the allocations for Green’s Grant, Martin’s Location, Pinkham’s Grant, Sargent’s Purchase, Thompson & Meserves Purchase, and Low & Burbank Grant. The money will be used for technical and emergency medical equipment to rescue and treat injured parties in the northern Presidential Mountains and Pinkham Notch. It will be stored at the Mount Washington State Park but can be deployed anywhere in the county. The Groveton Ambulance Corps received $1,000 from Odell’s allocation to purchase radio batteries and battery charges.
Collins reported she received an application from the Appalachian Mountain Club that arrived after the deadline but was postmarked June 8. She said the club was requesting money for radio equipment. The commissioners rejected the application because it was not received by June 8. Collins noted it was similar to the Gorham Fire/EMS request and that equipment would be available for use by the AMC and other groups.