Thursday April 25, 2013

BELLOWS FALLS -- Village Trustee Deborah Wright used time at Tuesday evening's meeting to voice her displeasure over the perceived drug problem that plagues Bellows Falls.

Wright referenced a previous Reformer article (Saturday, April 13) that quoted Bellows Falls Police Chief Ron Lake as saying heroin use in the village is "at epidemic proportions." The article, Wright went on to say, also mentioned that Lake addressed the dangers of synthetic marijuana during a segment of the Teen Brain Development event at the Rockingham Free Public Library the prior Thursday.

"That's a concern," she said at Tuesday's meeting. "We have no control over our own village and (Trustee) Stefan (Golec) and I started talking about this before the meeting that we do have something we can do."

She said village officials can think about ordinances that would help curtail what is having a negative impact on the community.

Wright then said she takes offense to the term "epidemic proportions," which she considers inflammatory.

Earlier in the meeting, Rockingham Finance Director/Interim Municipal Manager Chip Stearns led a discussion on the year-to-date budget deficit. He said he "ran the numbers" Monday night and there will be an extra $5,000 in revenue.

He initially had expected a $30,000 deficit (primarily the result of salary benefits and the purchase a recording system), but there will actually be a surplus of about $13,000.

The trustees also waived a banner fee for the Bellows Falls Rotary Club, which plans to hold its annual penny sale and raffle on Saturday, May 4. According to Rotarian Hugh C. Haggerty, the club requested the waiver of the $150 fee so as to maximize its revenues, which will be used to help "our neighbors in need." The event is used to raise funds for scholarships and non-profit groups in the community.

In other business:

-- During his manager's report, Stearns said he will be out of the office from Wednesday, April 24, to Sunday, April 28. He said he had already planned to be away these days before he was named interim municipal manager last week. He said Rockingham Development Director Francis "Dutch" Walsh will be acting manager until his return.

-- Stearns also said Sgt. William Frank was sworn in as the newest member of the Bellows Falls Police Department.

-- The interim manager also said Miner's Pond is overflowing, which means the spring run-off has gone over capacity. He said the water will be lowered with the use of flushing hydrants from Monday, May 6, to as late as Friday, May 24.

-- Water and wastewater bills are due today and taxes are due by Friday, May 10.

-- Golec served as chairman during the meeting in the absence of Roger Riccio.

-- Trustee Colin James said there will be a service at the United Church of Bellows Falls at 8 School St. in honor of the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings that left three people dead and more than 100 injured. The service is set to begin at 5 p.m. today. James said a walk may also be held in the near future.

-- Golec requested a moment of silence for the victims at the end of the meeting.

Domenic Poli can be reached at dpoli@reformer.com, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoli_reformer.