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.”