News briefs from Amherst, Milford and Mont Vernon

Walmart police station

AMHERST – A police substation at Walmart will open soon and last week selectmen voted to accept “with appreciation” the cost of $20,527 as a gift from Walmart and builder Jack Reed of JVR Associates of Amherst.

Amherst Police Chief Mark Reams said the substation will mean less time his officers have to spend addressing low-risk criminal complaints, mostly shoplifting and motor vehicle offense, and more time on the streets.

“We can book them right there and release them,” he said, and “We hope our random occurrences deter crime.”

Board Chairman Dwight Brew noted that Walmart pays around $450,000 a year in property taxes and doesn’t send any children to the schools.

– KATHY CLEVELAND

New courthouse?

MILFORD – Plans for a new Milford District Court seem to be stalled, and selectmen’s Chairman Gary Daniels told the board recently, he would like to see it back on track.

There is a blueprint and layout for a new building at the site of the motor vehicle station and former state police station near Market Basket, said Daniels, who is the newly-elected state senator for District 11, replacing Peter Bragdon.

But there has been no recent movement toward getting it built.

The court is now located in rented quarters on Elm Street that the state has been paying for.

In a wave of cost-cutting a few years ago the state almost moved the Milford court into the new Merrimack District Court building, an action that was strongly opposed by police and local officials.

– KATHY CLEVELAND

No bus rides for voters

MILFORD – The Blue Bus will take you to grocery stores and medical appointments, but you can’t use it to get to the polls.

Run by the nonprofit Souhegan Valley Rides, the bus service is very successful, having expanded into Mont Vernon and most recently into Wilton, and now serving people, often the elderly and disabled,
in six towns.

Janet Langdell, representing Souhegan Valley Rides, was at the Nov. 10 selectmen’s meeting and Chairman Gary Daniels asked if people could use the bus to get to polling places, which in Milford is at the middle school.

The buses “can’t go on school property during school time. It’s a federal rule” involving liability, she said. “It doesn’t make any sense, and we will keep asking the question and looking for loopholes.”

The curb-to-curb bus service started in 2008 and is now offering more rides and has more riders, she said. By July of 2014 it had given 15,000 rides, with 158 new passengers registered this year, the “lion’s share” coming from Milford, but with Amherst and Hollis increasing ridership. The number of rides from Amherst is up to 582 this year.

Langdell and two other members of the Souhegan Valley Rides’ board of directors, Marcia Nelson and Nate Carmen, were at the meeting to ask if they need to submit a petition article for the $20,000 they will ask the town to pay to support the service.

Selectmen told them they’d let them know and said the service is of great value to the community.

– KATHY CLEVELAND

Tax payments wanted

MONT VERNON – The town is asking property owners to pay their next tax bills as soon as they can so that the town can avoid borrowing money in anticipation of taxes.

According to the Mont Vernon town web site, the revaluation is complete, and property owners should soon receive a letter from the vendor, Commerford Nieder Perkins Appraisal, LLC (CNP) showing the new assessed value of their property.

Due to the unexpected death of one of the principals at CNP, however, work is running later than usual and the town’s tax flow situation may mean it will have to issue a tax anticipation note, which is costly to taxpayers.

A tax anticipation note can be avoided if the town receives tax payments as soon as the bills go out.

The town treasurer “is humbly asking that you pay your tax bills as soon as you can so the town can avoid having to borrow money to cover December expenses.”

For those with questions regarding their new assessment, the letter explains how to set up an informal review during the times available, directly with CNP, although reviews will be held at Town Hall.

After the reviews are complete, the valuation can be finalized and sent to the Department of Revenue to begin the process of setting the tax rate, which will probably be complete before Thanksgiving and the December tax bills can be printed at that time.

– KATHY CLEVELAND