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Executive Council declines loan for fireworks company, citing solid waste violations

Staff Report
February 16. 2017 8:49PM

CONCORD — The Executive Council voted 3-2 to defeat a proposed state guarantee of a loan up to $1.8 million for Atlas PyroVision Entertainment Group, citing concern over the Jaffrey’s company’s connection with solid waste felony violations.

The New Hampshire Business Finance Authority recommended the guarantee of the loan from Granite Bank to Atlas, which is a professional fireworks display company.

Councilors Russell Prescott of Kingston, Andru Volinsky of Concord, and David Wheeler of Milford raised concerns Wednesday over the guarantee, or potential financial risk for the state, after environmental investigation that resulted in the state filing charges against Atlas and PLH LLC, a waste company managed by Atlas owner and chief executive Stephen Pelkey.

PLH entered guilty pleas last fall in connection with the case, and charges the company operated a solid waste facility without a permit between 2010 and 2013, and illegally buried broken cathode ray tubes from old computer monitors and televisions.

A Superior Court judge imposed a $250,000 fine, and $10,000 penalty, with another $250,000 fine suspended, contingent on good behavior, according to the Attorney General. In the guilty plea agreement, identical indictments against Atlas PyroVision Entertainment Group were dropped, according to the Attorney General’s office.

State environmental investigators were tipped off in 2013 that Pelkey allegedly instructed Atlas employees to dig trenches for the monitors, crush the glass and remove metal parts for recycling. Later that year, the state reported that Pelkey voluntarily agreed to excavate the waste, and more than 100,000 pounds was then properly disposed.

Atlas PyroVision employs 25 full-time workers and 16 part-time workers, according to the Business Finance Authority recommendation. Councilors Joe Kenney of Union and Chris Pappas of Manchester supported the guarantee agreement.

In other business at its regular meeting Wednesday, the Executive Council voted to:

• Accepted the resignation of Supreme Court Associate Justice Carol Ann Conboy, effective July 1, due to the Constitutional requirement that a judge cannot serve after their 70th birthday. The council also accepted the resignation of Ingrid White, the deputy commissioner of the state Banking Department.

• Authorize the state Department of Transportation, Bureau of Highway Design, to amend a contract with Parsons Brinckerhoff Inc. to complete the final design of the roadway and bridges comprising the northern section of the Salem-to-Manchester Interstate 93 project. The contract decreases the amount by about $21,412, to $11,622,585, for reduced design services from the original scope of the construction work.

• Authorize the Division of Forests and Lands to buy 288 acres of working forestland known as the “Heon Tract,” abutting the Cape Horn State Forest in the town of Northumberland, from The Nature Conservancy, for $100,000.

• Authorize the state Department of Environmental Services to enter into agreement with the N.H. Fish & Game Department to conserve two parcels of land of about 149 acres of land in Londonderry, in the amount of $400,000. The funding is from the Aquatic Resource Mitigation Fund, for watershed area of the Merrimack River. The land, which includes perennial and intermittent streams that are tributaries to Nesenkeag Brook, is identified as key habitat for Blanding’s turtles, and New England cottontail.

• Approved a contract with B. Davis Construction Co. for building improvements to the North Country Resource Center in Lancaster for $186,727.

Crime Public Safety Business Health Politics Jaffrey State Government

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