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New legislation aims to salvage Balsams project

by Tara Giles
Sports reporter - Coos County Democrat and Berlin Reporter
January 17, 2019
DIXVILLE NOTCH — New legislation has been introduced to amend SB30 in regards to financing the redevelopment of the Balsams Hotel located in Dixville Notch. The prime sponsor of the bill is State Rep. Edith Tucker of Randolph. Several individuals feel that this legislation, if passed, could be the only chance left that the historic property has to salvage itself.

When asked what prompted her to introduce the legislation, Tucker said, "Les Otten, the lead developer of The Balsams, asked me to step up and file an amendment to the existing state law — known as SB 30 — that was crafted in 2015 to provide a state guarantee for $28 million through the New Hampshire Finance Authority for a special assessment district in an Unincorporated Place."

Tucker went on to say, "The BFA and The Balsams' investors were unable to reach an agreement, however."

Otten relayed to Tucker that a Republican senator had recently suggested to him that the Cos County commissioners could issue 20-year bonds that would allow the county to collect taxes on new construction in a special assessment district to pay them off.

Tucker explained, "Unlike the BFA, the county would not guarantee these bonds."

Tucker said, "I think we all know that the District 1 Senate race was very complicated this fall. I have to think that Mr. Otten decided it would be a good idea to work on legislation with a House member from Cos. The bill that I have filed to permit this action is only enabling legislation. It would allow the county commissioners to vote to issue the bonds, plus set fees and terms, and then seek the approval of the county delegation of state representatives."

The well known State Rep noted that there has been a lot of interest in the bill, both in Cos County and Concord, adding "I and others listened to a lot of input. Helped by many, I took the amendment that was first drawn up by the developer and his lawyer and changed it to protect the county's financial interests while still making it possible to develop a world-class resort."

Tucker offered a final thought: "Our county has faced many challenges in recent years. I am very happy to be working on passing legislation that I believe could make a difference to the lives of many."

AJ Coleman
Varney Smith
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