Sununu Signs Bills Aimed At Workplace Safety, Potential Balsams Financing

May 20, 2019

Credit Daniel S. Hurd via Flickr CC

New law aims to improve safety of public sector workers

Gov. Chris Sununu was surrounded by the family of a deceased highway department worker as he signed a bill aimed at improving workplace safety for New Hampshire's public sector employees.

Tom Wooten, of Belmont, was working for the Northfield Highway Department when he died in 2016 after getting trapped between a tractor and the trailer it was hauling. His daughter, Samantha, pushed for a new law requiring municipalities, school districts, state agencies and other public employers to report serious workplace injuries to the Labor Department within 24 hours and deaths within eight hours.

The department also will be required to investigate the causes of deaths.

At Monday's signing, Sununu said the changes will improve accountability and prevention.

Samantha Wooten said it was a bittersweet moment. She hopes others won't have to go through what her family endured.

New hope for the Balsams Project?

Credit Chris Jensen for NHPR

Sununu also signed a bill Monday that could help redevelop the Balsams Grand Resort.

The Caledonian Record reports the bill allows counties to establish redevelopment, or tax increment financing, districts in unincorporated places and issue and administer bonds for revitalization projects.

It allows county commissioners to authorize bonds that would be bought by a private buyer and repaid through assessment revenues generated by the redevelopment district. A financing plan must be established by the bond recipient and approved by the county commission.

Balsams developer Les Otten asked lawmakers to support a Tax Increment Financing district for Dixville and allow the county to issue a $28 million bond from a private lender, a critical financing piece in the total $175 million redevelopment package for the resort, closed since September 2011.