From the Union Leader:
A bittersweet disagreement in Londonderry
By ELI OKUN
6/9/2016 Union Leader Correspondent
LONDONDERRY — A disagreement over paying for bittersweet remediation in the town forest is proving more bitter than sweet.
The conservation commission last year contracted with Michael Morrison of Swamp Inc. to apply herbicide in the town forest to control bittersweet, an invasive species of vine that wraps so tightly around trees it strangles them. The contract was just for one year, but Morrison said it would probably take three years of spraying to get the bittersweet under control.
After voters opted this March to switch responsibility for the town forest from the conservation commission to the town manager, the commission did not pursue a second year of the contract — citing the fact that the forest was no longer its purview.
That hasn’t sat right with Town Councilor Jim Butler. “Quite frankly, I find (it) very unprofessional,” he said at Monday’s meeting.
Conservation Commission Chairman Marge Badois disagrees. “Where it’s no longer our responsibility,” she said, “we are not going to contract to have the bittersweet controlled.”
Now, Town Manager Kevin Smith has to figure out a way to pay for it by looking at other areas in the existing budget.
Underlying the dispute are broader questions about the use and direction of the town forest. A warrant article approved this year transferred authority over the wooded area to the town manager — a move that some conservation commission members had initially opposed, though they said it was ultimately a decision for the residents to make.
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