Town’s budget received additional cuts to lower tax rate

By Kirstan Knowlton

GORHAM — Selectmen reviewed suggestions from the town manager regarding budget cuts and plans to move ahead on road repairs. Reductions to the budget were approved and selectmen voted to make a contribution to the Road Resurfacing and Reconstruction Capital Reserve Fund.

The original warrant article for engineering costs covered 14 streets, but would cost the town $415,000. Due to budget constraints changes were made to appropriate $200,000 to the Road Resurfacing and Reconstruction Capital Reserve Fund instead.

The current balance in the Road Resurfacing and Reconstruction Capital Reserve Fund has slightly over $10,000. By allocating money to the existing reserve fund, there would be more flexibility on how the money can be used for road repairs.

The board also discussed options for road repairs including only repairing stretches of road rather than tearing up entire sections to be rebuilt. This option would likely save money on unnecessary road repairs.

“You don’t have to dig the entire road up, if there is a section that can be saved they should be left alone,” said resident Glen Eastman.

Public Works Director Austin Holmes plans to meet with the engineer to discuss repair plans for the roads. Both Cascade Flats and Stony Brook are still high on the priority list.

Police Chief PJ Cyr suggested that the town consider forming a committee to discuss road repairs and formulate a plan. Cyr referenced the success of the Public Safety Organizational Review committee, and thought that a similar model might be beneficial.

Selectmen backed Cyr’s idea of a committee, although they said it would have to be spear headed by the planning board.

Along with significant cuts to the road funding, cuts were also made to various Capital Reserve Funds including the ambulance, dispatch, police, fire, highway and town building purchase and repairs. All of these reductions total $308,000 or an estimated $1.15 per thousand on the tax rate.

The public budget hearing will be held this evening starting at 6:30 p.m. at the Medallion Opera House.

Selectmen will also be meeting on Monday, Feb. 8 at 6 p.m. and a public hearing to address concerns about the merger between fire and EMS will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 16 at 6 p.m.

Easter Seals Ride-in this weekend

SHELBURNE – Snow conditions may not be ideal for this weekend’s annual Easter Seals Ride-in but hundreds of snowmobile enthusiasts will still gather at the Town and Country Inn and Resort to enjoy a host of activities while raising money for a worthwhile cause.
This is the N.H. Snowmobile Association’s 44th annual ride-in to raise money to Easter Seal’s Camp Sno-Mo. Located in Gilmanton, the camp provides summer recreational opportunities to youth with disabilities and special needs. Snowmobilers are the prime source of funding for the camp, which provides a summer camp experience for the youth as well as a needed respite for families and caregivers.
NHSA Executive Director Gail Hanson said the association hopes to raise $97,000 at this year’s event, bringing the total raised to $3 million.
Hanson said she could not remember a ride-in with so little snow and said the family rides and guided tours have been cancelled.
But she said the lack of snow will not stop the snowmobilers from turning out and enjoying the rest of the festivities.
We’ve got the hotel still booked. People will still come,” Hanson said.
One of the highlights is Comedy Night, which will feature three professional Boston-area comedians, running from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday night. The show is open to all with a $5 admission fee. Other events include a Silent Auction during the day Saturday, a bus trip to Lancaster for the Kilkenney Cup snowmobile races http://lancastergrandprix.com/racers/, and the Live Auction of charity items on Saturday evening. Just added for Saturday afternoon is traditional Bingo.
The traditional costume parade through downtown Gorham has been cancelled but Hanson said they will do a mini parade in the parking lot.
Main events on Friday include the “Full Moon Dinner” from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Dinner will be followed by opening ceremonies, including the announcement of the “Ice Moon Prince and Princess”. The evening will end on a light note with everyone enjoying some laughs.
On Saturday, the bus will leave at 10 a.m. for those interested in attending the Lancaster Grand Prix. The modified parade will take place from 3:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Awards and closing ceremonies will take place at 9:45 a.m. Sunday.
All the events are open to the general public and people are invited to come for the comedy show or auctions and enjoy the evenings. NH Fish & Game and NH Trails Bureau will also be in attendance for the event and Yeti and Snow Miser are likely to attend some of the events. For more information on the ride-in go to www.nhsa.com

Sidebar for Easter seals ride-in - Local club hosts steak feed

BERLIN – The White Mountain Ridge Runners snowmobile club will be holding its annual winter steak feed this Saturday, Feb. 6.
Timed to coincide with the annual Easter Seals Ride-in, the feed will take place at the WMRR clubhouse from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Club official Bobby Rodrique said the event is open to the general public as well as snowmobilers and ATVs. The clubhouse is located on Jericho Road, across from Jericho Motorsports and he noted that it is accessible by car.
Club members will grill 12-ounce steaks to order. For those desiring lighter fare, hamburgers will also be offered. The price is $15 for a steak dinner and $8 for a hamburger dinner with all the fixings included. Rodrique said this year the club will be featuring homemade French fries as well as salads and deserts.
Local merchants have donated merchandise that will be raffled off during the event and there will also be a 50-5 raffle.
In addition to a great meal, the public will have an opportunity to learn about the club and the extensive trail network it maintains.
Rodrique pointed out that the money the club makes from the steak feed help support its volunteer work. The club recently put up signs marking the historic Steel Truss Bridge it renovated and installed over the Dead River. The club also owns and maintains the warming hut at Jericho Mountain State Park.

Griffin pleads guilty in Isaacson bankruptcy

BURLINGTON, VT – Former Isaacson Structural Steel co-owner Steve Griffin pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court of Vermont Tuesday to a single charge of making a false statement to a federal institution.
Originally indicted last March on nine counts stemming from his actions as co-owner and chief financial officer for Isaacson, Griffin reached a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s office last month.
Chief Justice Christina Reiss accepted the guilty plea but deferred accepting the plea agreement pending completion of a pre-sentencing report.
Sentencing is scheduled for May 3 at 1:30 p.m.
The terms of the agreement call for Griffin to plead guilty to one count of making a false statement. The other eight counts will be dismissed. While Griffin faces up to 30 years and a $1 million fine on the count, the U.S. Attorney’s Office will recommend the maximum sentence not exceed 36 months. Griffin reserved the right to argue for a lesser sentence, including no imprisonment. Griffin will pay $500,000 in restitution with the stipulation that the U.S. Attorney’s office will not proceed with a $1.26 million forfeiture action against him. Furthermore, the agreement notes the U.S. Attorney for New Hampshire has sent a letter agreeing not to charge Griffin with any criminal charges in New Hampshire if he pleaded guilty and is sentenced in Vermont.
As part of the agreement, Griffin stipulated that between 2010 and 2011, he and Isaacson co-owner and CEO Arnold Hanson submitted false and inflated figures to banks regarding ISSI’s inventory asset values. The asset figures were inflated by $1 million or more. In the fall of 2010 as the company faced serious financial, Griffin submitted a false borrowing base certificate in applying for a $2 million federal Small Business Administration loan. The $2 million loan did not fix the company’s cash flow problems and ISSI continued to submit financial statements to banks using inflated figures.
Isaacson went bankrupt in June 2011 and its assets were later liquidated. In the end, banks lost millions of dollars.
Under a plea agreement reached in 2014, Hanson pleaded guilty to a count of conspiring to make false statements to a financial institution. Under the terms of his agreement, Hanson faces a maximum sentence of five year in prison, up to three years of supervised release, a fine of up to $250,000, and restitution. Hanson will not be sentenced until after Griffin’s case is resolved.
Griffin is out on personal recognizance bail.