February 29, 2012
By Edith Tucker
The Coos County Democrat
WEST STEWARTSTOWN — With both state and
federal dollars in short supply, the county commissioners eagerly accepted
county treasurer Fred King’s advice at their meeting on Wednesday and voted
to use unencumbered fund balances maintained in the accounts of some
Unincorporated Places to help pay for two projects designed to make Coös
County more alluring to outdoorminded tourists without burdening county
Larry Gomes, assistant Trailmaster of the White Mountain Ridge Runners snowmobile club, asked for help in paying for a nearly $40,000 emergency response vehicle (ERV) — a fully outfitted five-and-a-half-foot-wide 2012 Arctic Cat Prowler HDX 700 and dual axle trailer.
He asked that the money come from the county budget’s economic development budget, since the rescue vehicle could be used for backcountry rescues following both snowmobile and ATV accidents. Other donations are already in place: a $7,000, Arctic Cat special donation; Jericho Sports $1,200; $850, Smith and Town printers, $850; Ray’s Electric, $500; White Mountain Ridge Runners, $2,000; Androscoggin Valley ATV Club, $1,000; Milan F.D., $500; City of Berlin, $1,500; and former state rep. Paul Ingersoll, a $1,000 digital radio.
A $20,000 grant application has been submitted to the Neil and Louise Tillotson Fund; an earlier application was turned down because the Fund likes matching monies to be in hand before they make an award, Gomes explained. Auto North in Gorham is donating $25 from each car sale made this month.
N. H. Fish and Game has encouraged the club to go forward with acquiring this ERV, which will be located in a dedicated trailer in a centrally located garage with multiple keys. The compelling elements driving acquisition of this vehicle are: faster response times in getting first responders into an accident site in Berlin, Gorham, Milan, Dummer, Stark, and some UPs; faster extraction of victims to a waiting ambulance; a more comfortable ride over rough terrain; and provision of critical care by an EMT during the all-important first hour.
The commissioners voted to take $500 from the unencumbered fund balances of each of three UPs — Cambridge, Success, and Kilkenny — making a total of $1,500. Chairman Burnham “Bing” Judd noted that the Town of Pittsburg also needs a rescue trailer and suggested that his hometown could apply for U.P. funds for this purpose in the next budget cycle. The trailer would be used both in Dix’s Grant and the Atkinson & Gilmanton Academy Grant, both UPs.
Earlier, before treasurer King had come up with the idea of tapping the UP accounts, Judd had said that he “had a lot of reservations about starting a new program” no matter how worthy.
The commissioners also blessed a scheduled one-day non-motorized North Country Endurance Challenge race on Saturday, Sept. 8, sponsored by the North Country Chamber of Commerce.
Chamber vice president Wayne Frizzell of Colebrook, regional Parks supervisor Sanford “Sandy” Young of Pittsburg, and Grant Killian, Director of the Untamed Adventure Racing (www.untamedadventure.com) whose company maintains a mailbox in Littleton, explained that they envisioned a 75-mile-long multi-sport race that will include mountain biking, paddling, and running. The Chamber seeks funds to be used for advertising and promotion, designed to create a lasting awareness of Coös’ backcountry forests, rivers, and trails. Participants could compete as singletons or as 10-person re-
A dinner for competitors and their support staffs is planned on Friday evening, Sept. 7, in Canaan, Vt.
Right now, only one Unincorporated Place — Dixville — is on the route, but the commissioners suggested that Millsfield, which benefits for 10 years from the wind farm’s PILT payments, could be added. The commissioners voted to give $2,500 from each of the two likely UPs for a total of $5,000.
Other clubs and nonprofit organizations that provide search and rescue (SAR) services and other amenities in the Unincorporated Places, drawing adventuresome visitors to the county, perked up their ears once word spread that UP funds could be tapped for these purposes. At present, Low and Burbank’s Grant has an unencumbered fund balance of $23,823 and Sargent's Purchase, $115,814.
The delegation will be asked to approve these expenditures at its annual budget meeting on March 10 in Berlin.