Bow selectmen lay out fiscal year goalsBy TRAVIS R. MORIN
Union Leader Correspondent
June 20. 2018 10:22PM
On Tuesday night to an audience of 15 empty seats, the Bow Board of Selectmen held their biannual goals and objectives workshop and set out their objectives for the town for fiscal year 2018 - 19.
With the first few minutes of the workshop guided by an agent from Primex, the town’s insurance agency, Bow’s legal dispute with Eversource took center stage.
“The outstanding issue, the elephant in the room, that’s here,” said board chairman Christopher Nicolopoulos.
Last January, the state Supreme Court ruled against the town in a high- profile court battle against Eversource over how much to value the utility company’s Merrimack Station coal-fired power plant. The ruling saddled the town and its annual $11.1 million budget with a $14 million dollar payout to Eversource.
While the board of selectmen unanimously agreed on the desire not to raise the town’s tax rate, there was also a consensus in favor of leveling the tax rate with an allowance for the unresolved litigation.
“We need to fiscally plan to build a reserve,” Colleen Hunter, vice chairman, said of the board’s fiscal goals. “We not only want to have a reserve, but we want to keep the tax rate level.”
In addition to addressing the Eversource issue, the board also designated better communication practices with both residents and town employees as a goal. In particular, the board expressed its desire to use more social media.
“These local groups on Facebook are blowing up as a way that people are talking about what’s going on in Bow,” said Nicolopoulos. “Last night my power goes out during the storm and I get in the car to go get some gas. All of a sudden I get an update saying that the power is out on these three streets. Then I saw a community member saying ‘I have enough space in my house for five people, if someone is elderly or with kids needs a place to stay.”
Nicolopolous went on to add, “We missed that opportunity to use social media build that relationship with the town.”
The continued questions surrounding what will become of the Community Building on 3 Bow Center Road also occupied the evening’s discussions.
With estimates that bringing the 60-year-old former fire station back up to code could cost anywhere between $75,000 and $100,000 to make ADA compliant, electrical and heating repairs, the building’s future has been in limbo since the 2013 state fire marshal inspection that first discovered its many code violations.
The board resolved to work with the town community to come up with a concrete plan for the center.
“The ultimate goal is to develop, with the help of the town, a vision for the community building,” Nicolopolous said. “It’s about what the town wants, because my vision would be to bulldoze it.”
Other goals put forward by the board included broadening the tax base, increasing commercial development, keeping up with maintenance on roads and other town property, increasing commercial development, and hiring a facilities manager for the town and school district.