#43: Laconia, NH 8/22/16

It took a real team effort to carry the Laconia city council meeting across the finish line.

“Time to get going with the city council,” Mayor Pro Tem Armand Bolduc quietly sighed. “So I’m opening up the meeting–”

“Move that a little closer to you,” whispered Councilor Henry Lipman, edging the microphone toward Bolduc.

“Citizen comments?” the mayor pro tem peered out from behind a sprawling potted plant unconquered by hedge trimmers. “I don’t see anybody moving back there, so–”

“That’s just so she can hear you,” Councilor Brenda Baer interrupted as she planted someone’s pocket recorder beside Bolduc’s notes.

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Laconia city council (above) with mayor Marvin the Ficus

Okay, we cool? Can everyone turn up their hearing aid and listen to the busy, busy agenda?

“Interviews…we don’t have any. Communications…we don’t have any,” the mayor pro tem muttered as he slowly moved his finger down the checklist. The seconds ticked by. The fan whirred overhead. Finally, something to talk about:

“With no further ado, I’ll open the public hearing at 7:02,” Bolduc craned his head toward the clock.

“This is on the two solar powered benches?” asked the city manager.

“That’s right,” the mayor pro tem responded. “Free to the city, which we don’t get too often.” He stared at the audience. The audience stared at him. “Anybody have anything to say about it? If not, I’ll close the public hearing at, what…7:03?”

I’m sensing a pattern here. Luckily, one of the councilors had some business.

“I’d like to schedule a meeting to look at the lighting project that we’ve talked about,” said Councilor Lipman. “Replacing the…uh–”

“Street lights?” Bolduc bailed him out.

“Street lights,” Lipman acknowledged, “with…what’s the technical name?”

“LEDs,” tag-teamed Councilor Baer.

“LEDs, thank you.” Whew, this is like defusing a bomb.

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The ESP is strong in this group.

Suddenly, the director of recreation and facilities tossed a wrench into the gears.

“With high pedestrian traffic and a focus on the aesthetic value of the area, the advisory board is recommending stamped, colored, concrete crosswalks” on Lakeside Avenue.

Once again, the council absorbed this news through their collective digestive system.

“The colored concrete crosswalks, we’re gonna spend $60,000 to color what’s already there?” Councilor Baer asked.

“It’s like a brick, but not painted onto the asphalt,” the mayor pro tem attempted to explain.

“It’s a slab,” further clarified Councilor Robert Hamel.

Slabby painted concrete. Got it.

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Would you trust this man with your concrete slabs? I would.

“What kind of timeline do you have? When do you need these?” Councilor Ava Doyle wondered.

“They’re anxious to have information on what we’re gonna do–” the director started, before Councilor Hamel slammed his fist on the table.

“It doesn’t matter! It’s not etched in stone that we have to do it.” (Uh, I think it’s actually painted in concrete.) “WE decide whether we do it or not.”

The council agreed unanimously to get some prices. Also, to take those free solar-powered benches from earlier. As the mayor pro tem adjourned, he noticed the pocket recorder in front of him.

“How do you control this thing?!” he exclaimed, pushing it off to Councilor Baer.

Final thoughts: This was a toughie, but I give 10 out of 10 stars to that plant for being such a dedicated public servant.

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