Town Manager Resigns, Impact Fee Issue Addressed

Londonderry Town Manager Dave Caron will be resigning, effective July 20, 2012, as the Town immediately begins the search for a new manager. The Town Council announced the resignation after receiving Caron’s letter yesterday, July 9, adding he will remain on administrative leave until the 20th.

Since mid-June, Caron has been on leave attending to a family emergency. During this time, Police Chief Bill Hart has been serving as interim manager and it has become apparent that, between the family emergency and the Town’s pressing business, it is now time for Caron and the Town to sever their relationship.

Town Council Chairman John Farrell released a statement yesterday regarding the resignation and the recent impact fees situation. “The Town Council wishes Mr. Caron and his family the best of luck,” Farrell stated. He continued, “The Town will immediately commence a search for a new Town Manager.”

Regarding the impact fees situation in Town, Farrell stated that just over a year ago it was brought to the attention of Town officials that Londonderry may have improperly collected impact fees for improvements to state highways and may have failed to return impact fees that were deemed expired.

Since the 1990′s, the Town has collected fees from developers and property owners to help defray additional costs of municipal capital improvements deemed necessary as a result of the developments. After consulting with attorneys and reviewing the issue, it was determined that the impact fees are not allowed to be used for improvements exclusively to state highways.

Additionally, if any portion of the fees are not spent or otherwise bound to the project for which it was collected within a time period of six years, state law and the Town’s ordinance require the funds to be returned to the person who paid the fee or the property owner.

The total amount of impact fees to be refunded is between $1.2 million and $1.3 million. The Town currently has more than $1 million of the funds in the impact fee bank account and will refund the remaining money from funds budgeted but not spend during the next fiscal year.

The Town has already begun processing refunds for properties where the payor remains the property owner and these individuals should receive their refund within the next ten days. Where the payor is not the property owner, the Town is identifying all the parties.

There are currently 25 properties in which the refund is greater than $5,000 and more than 400 properties where the refund is less than $5,000. Most often the refund is smaller than $1,000. By July 16, 2012, the Town will file a bill of Interpleader with the Rockingham County Superior Court. The purpose of this action is to allow the payors and property owners, where the amount is greater than $5,000, to determine who should properly receive the refund.

A list of properties, payors, and current property owners of record, as well as the amount involved for each party, will be posted on the Town’s website and the Town offices. The Town is hopeful that the payor and current property owner will reach an accord that will result in the matter not being added to the superior court action. If the Town is presented with an agreement, it will issue refunds consistent with the agreement. If an agreement cannot be reached, the Town will hold the money until a determination is made in the superior court action identifying the proper party to receive the refund.

Farrell added that Acting Town Manager William Hart “has instituted changes to the Town’s record-keeping, accounting and notification practices regarding the impact fees to ensure that the errors do no reoccur.”

 

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7 Responses

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  1. Vote -1 Vote +1Fred2

    WOW.

    The town lost 1.2 million that could have been used to offset some our taxes.

  2. -1 Vote -1 Vote +1Bill

    Wrong they are impact fees, they could not be used to offset taxes

  3. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1Steve Young

    @Bill

    Actually Impact fees can offset the tax rate. On the school side we keep a very close eye on this. They must be used in a defined time period, they must be used for capital improvements related to the item (schools) or region they are collected for.

    Example, when building a new building we (the school district by authorization of the planning board) designate funds collected from impact fees on homes based on how many bedrooms they have to capital projects.

    We even, within the law, designate funds to buy down the debt load for those capital improvements. One technique that is used is to use impact fees to pay the first year or two of payments on a capital investment so the bond payments are delayed.

    This offsets taxes, this reduces taxes to all taxpayers in town. It does so since the tax rate is lower due to the revenue provide by the impact fees.

    Now the impact fees from home construction has diminished greatly for the schools. Nothing wrong with that, it was by design with open space and elderly housing and the fact that the economy crashed (well the last item was not by design but we are stuck with it.) But that is another story that will generate quite a conversation.

    Time to focus on our industrial and commercial growth over the last decade and desirable growth in the next. Business is good.

  4. +4 Vote -1 Vote +1deborah nowicki

    Last night I spoke with a new small business owner in Londonderry and have spoken to a couple others over the last few years. They all have the same question that is stunting any businesses from wanting to do business in Londonderry…What does it take so long and is so complicated to do simple business with the Town? Food for thought!

  5. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Bill

    Could the town potentially be liable for interst on the money that was improperly held?

    1. -1 Vote -1 Vote +1admin

      They are, the figures in the story include the interest.

  6. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1Bill

    The timing of this info coming out and Dave’s “resignation” are, in the words of an old German seargent “veddy interesting”. Coincidence?

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