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  • Recreation Commission Meeitng: January 08, 2007
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GDouglas
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« on: December 27, 2006, 06:47:26 AM »

Event Title: Recreation Commission
Where: Sunnycrest Conference Room, 1st. Flr.
Monday, January 8, 2007
Time: 7:30 PM EST
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Glenn Douglas
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« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2007, 07:10:17 PM »

My Notes and Observations from the Meeting:

Old Business:

1. Londonderry Presbyterian Church Softball
The group is still in process of putting their proposed program together. The group emailed earlier in the day and postponed their appearance before the commission to next months meeting.

2. Request for Impact fees for lights on LAFA fields.
Ron Campo presented the proposal to illuminate 2 ball fields in the LAFA complex. LAFA would maintain the lights after installation. LAFA is requesting approximately $87,400 from the town impact fee fund. LAFA has expanded over the last several years and lighting of the fields would increase playing time for many of the teams in town. A vote was taken an the Commissioner's unanimously support the use of impact fees for this project.

3. Skate Park - Bicycle use
The subject of bicycle use at the skate park was on the agenda again. Art Psaledas has reviewed the state RSA's and the town would not be exposed to any additional liability should the Commission allow use of bicycles. The main concern was the possible damage the bike pegs could cause. Another Commissioner questioned if the current park was designed for bicycle use. It was not known if there was any sort of design guidlines for bicycle use. There was no decision made concerning the issue.

New Business:

1. Londonderry Basketball Sanctioning (LBC)
LBC is still waiting for final paperwork from the state of NH. The state is somewhat slow in supplying the required documents.

2. Insurance Update.
Insurance was again discussed. The Commision clarified the towns position on liability. The town liability insurance does not extend to any recreatin group which has a board of directors. Discussion countinued with several Commisioners suggesting that the Town change it's insurance policy to include recreation groups. The thought of several commisioners was that the recreation groups are providing a service to the town and the town should pay or reimburse groups for their insurance. The high cost of insurance to samller groups was also a concern. In some cases rates were 7-8 dollars per child. The discussion will undoubtedly continue at next month meeting.

Other:
LAFA may be ready to be sanctioned next month.
Brief discussion concerning the buget.
Meeting minutes of 12/11/2006 were approved.

Meeting adjourned at 8:48
« Last Edit: January 09, 2007, 07:13:34 PM by GDouglas » Logged

Glenn Douglas
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« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2007, 11:22:59 AM »

Now I see the town council approved $87K of tax funds for LAFA lights.  Ron Campo and two other recreation commission members belong to LAFA and the recreation commission voted unanimously to ask the council for this tax money.  Is it me or is there a conflict here......how do other groups with needs get this money for their use.  Shouldn't LAFA members pay for their own lights Huh?
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Brian Farmer
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« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2007, 01:46:44 PM »

tax_gal,

The $87K that the Town Council approved for lighting at the LAFA fileds is not taxpayer money.  The source of those funds are Impact Fees.  These fees are charged to developers who want to build here in Town.  Each new project that comes into Town may have an impact on the current infrastructure/services that the Town or School provides.  Rather than this cost be paid by the taxpayers, the Town charges the devloper an "Impact Fee".

Londonderry's taxpayers fund very little of the cost of Recreation programs when compared to other towns in the area.  Imact Fees are part of that; the majority of the money needed to run these programs are raised by groups like LAFA.  LAFA has alredy paid for a number of improvements ot the fields that they use, including lights.

Other groups who may have a need for these funds can forward their request through the Recreation Commission to the Town Council.  If it is for an appropriate use and the funds are available the request will likely be approved.

Regards,

Brian Farmer
Chair
Londonderry Town Council
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Brian Farmer
nh_tax_gal
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« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2007, 04:32:13 PM »

Thanks you very much for the clarification on where the funds come from.  They come from developers and ultimately the developers pass this cost along to the person/business who buys the building - or ultimately we the tax payer.  Mr. Farmer you did not however address the issue of conflict of interest where the the three members of LAFA on the commission approved to their organization the funds to begin with.  Why does LAFA hold a near majority of seats on this body.
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GDouglas
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« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2007, 09:22:20 AM »

nh_tax_gal,

Most town boards attract individuals with interest in the boards activities. In this case the Recreation Commission is composed of individuals from various town sports.

I've put together a list of the current commissioners and their affiliations. To you question of a conflict of interest, should the commissioners affiliated with LAFA abstained from the vote? maybe. In any case the vote would have had a majority.

The Recreation Commission meets the second Tuesday of the month at 7:30 for anyone interested.
http://www.londonderrynh.org/londonderry_012.htm 

William J. Manning, Chairperson

Gary Fisher, Vice Chairperson
LAFA Executive VP - Baseball www.lafa.info
Londonderry Basketball President www.lbchoops.org

Kevin Foley, Sec./Treasure
Londonderry Lacrosse Field Manager www.londonderrylax.org

Arthur T. Psaledas, Director
Town Recreation Director

Mike Boyle
Londonderry Lacrosse stepped down this year www.londonderrylax.org

Ron Campo
LAFA - President www.lafa.info

Patty Hanley
Londonderry Youth Soccer www.lysa-nh.org

Ben Parker
LAFA Treasurer www.lafa.info
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Glenn Douglas
Brian Farmer
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« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2007, 10:16:14 AM »

tax_gal,

To some there may appear to be a "conflict of interest" but one does not exist in this particular circumstance as no one on the Recreation Commission or LAFA is in the position to release any funds from Impact Fees. They have to come to the Town Council for approval and the Council will look at the overall benefit to the community before releasing any monies.

The whole recreation system in Town relies on volunteers and, as mentioned in another post, most of those volunteers come from backgrounds that match up to the committee that they serve on.  In three years on the Town Council I have not seen anyone step forward to volunteer to fill an open seat on the Recreation Commission that did not have some interest in one of the Recreation programs.

Brian Farmer
Chair
Londonderry Town Council
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Brian Farmer
Tom Dolan
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« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2007, 01:09:31 PM »

I concur with Councilor Farmer.  This expenditure was requested to and granted by the Council.  The impact fees are returned to the developers if not expended for the intended purpose after a certain period of time.  Impact fees are designed to save these expenditures from finding their way into the general tax rate.  In other words, this is a tax-saving technique to fund public projects.
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Tom Dolan
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AL Baldasaro
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« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2007, 01:00:36 PM »

Brian,
Since the discussion is on recreation impact funds, why can't impact funds be used to pay for the playground at LAFA for our young children?

Wouldn't you think with the many young children that we have, we would have a TOP NOTCH playground for our children?

Keep in mind that the more games played at LAFA, means more money for LAFA to maintain the Quality, they continue to provide to our children.

I compliment the council on helping to release funds for the LAFA fields to install lights but the Mom’s club is working hard to raise funds to have a decent playground at LAFA for our children.

I am hoping that there are recreation impact funds left over to build that play ground, which will benefit many families that utilize the LAFA fields.


AL Baldasaro
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nh_tax_gal
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« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2007, 02:09:21 PM »

I just saw the replay of the town council meeting where the $87,000 was given to LAFA.  I was shocked that no bids were taken for this or presented.  The person speaking simply said it is LAFA being LAFA - what does that mean.  Is money from these tax funds (any fund collected by the government that is imposed then passed on to citizens is a tax - regardles of how politicians sugar coat it) just spent without any fiscal control or oversight.  Doesn't the town require a competitive bid process.  Who's running the ship here.  What is the history of these tax funds how have these 'secret' funds been managed and what are the rules for getting at these monies.  What are the rules here ?
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AL Baldasaro
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« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2007, 02:17:26 PM »

The impact fees are not a secret tax. It is fees collected from construction projects to assit in certain areas to go towards a recrecreation project to enhance the quality of life.

I am not sure what building projects that initiated the actual build up of the funds.

AL
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nh_tax_gal
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« Reply #11 on: February 19, 2007, 02:21:28 PM »

Thanks Al - but a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet - a fee by any other name is still a tax.  Our opions differ.  But I still need an explanation about the process and oversight of spending funds from these accounts - as well as the rules for taking money from these accounts.
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AL Baldasaro
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« Reply #12 on: February 19, 2007, 02:39:22 PM »

I do not think that our oppinions differ because I have to agree with you that a fee is still a targeted tax to the user/builder. You have no argument there.

We have many user fees throughout the state that are a tax to the user but many I support verses taxing all that have nothing to do with the entity to ensure that we continue what ever services are provided.

When I launch my boat at one of our beautiful lakes, I do not mind paying the launch fee/tax because that is my use and not yours.

I would be interested in learning just how they are collected and beleive me, I like you, am still learning our town process.

My understanding is the council makes the decision at a public meeting how they are used.

Like I said before that I am not perfect and definatly do not know it all.

AL
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nh_tax_gal
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« Reply #13 on: March 10, 2007, 09:07:18 AM »

I note still no reply from any town council member over the $87K given to LAFA with no accountability attached - no competative bid provided - and no plans attached.  What is being done with the tax payer supported fund - how can other groups get this money.  The town freely spends $$$$$ on baseball and soccer - what about supporting other recreational programs for youth in Londonderry.
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GDouglas
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« Reply #14 on: March 10, 2007, 09:35:09 AM »

I note still no reply from any town council member over the $87K given to LAFA with no accountability attached - no competitive bid provided - and no plans attached.  What is being done with the tax payer supported fund - how can other groups get this money.  The town freely spends $$$$$ on baseball and soccer - what about supporting other recreational programs for youth in Londonderry.

As I recall from the meeting there was a package of information presented to the commission. I don't know if it contained bids or not. I would assume it's public record and on file at the town offices. Impact fees limited to what the can be spent on too.

The Recreation Commission meets the Second Tuesday of the month. If you want to know what is going on I suggest attending the meetings. The meetings are not televised and the minutes are somewhat spares and not always posted.

In fact there have been no minutes posted to the website since November of 2006!
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Glenn Douglas
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