Balsams SB30 House Hearing

By Jake Mardin

A contingent of North Country residents, business people, high school students, local and state officials, and developers of The Balsams resort property in Dixville attended a public hearing on Senate Bill 30 in front of the House Finance Committee on Tuesday.

The bill was amended by all ten members of the Coös County Delegation to permit the establishment of redevelopment districts in unincorporated places, to provide for the assessment of parcels located in the districts, and to authorize the Business Finance Authority to take up redevelopment projects in unincorporated places.

Balsams owners Dan Hebert and Dan Dagesse, and development partner Les Otten--who testified at yesterday’s hearing--have expressed the need for this legislation and a $28-million state backed loan in order for the project to move forward. Their plans include significant expansion of the Balsams ski area, and transforming the resort into a year-round destination that could bring more than 1,500 jobs to the Upper Coos. If the BFA approves the application, it will then require approval by the Governor and Executive Council.

Among those who testified before the committee were its sponsor, Sen. Jeff Woodburn, Representatives Larry Rappaport, John Fothergill and Leon Rideout, Colebrook selectman Ray Gorman and town manager Becky Merrow, and Colebrook Academy students Elias Rella and Dakota Fogg. Proponents of the bill argued that it is needed in order to create jobs and allow the younger generation to stay in the area, while opponents expressed concern about taxpayers and state responsibility if the project fails.

The full committee is scheduled to hold a work session on the bill today, and a smaller committee will work on the bill tomorrow. SB 30 is due out of the committee next Thursday. A full story will appear in next Wednesday’s paper.



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