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New Hampshire Motor Speedway, police at impasse
Even after the governor assembled a committee to deal with New Hampshire Motor Speedway's concerns about the cost of police and fire coverage at the track, the speedway and Loudon police Chief Bob Fiske are about $100,000 apart on the cost of covering next month's NASCAR race weekend. Fiske said he will present the Loudon selectmen tonight [Tuesday, May 11th] with a memorandum of understanding, to be signed by Jerry Gappens, the speedway's executive vice president, stating that the town of Loudon will be paid $174,500 for police and fire coverage, the same cost as the September 2009 race weekend.

But Gappens says track owner Bruton Smith believes adequate coverage can be provided for $75,000. The Loudon track is the only one of eight speedways owned by Smith's company, Speedway Motorsports, that pays for police and fire coverage, Gappens said. Gappens said he considers Fiske's request that he sign a memorandum of understanding to be "an insult" to the relationship forged between town and speedway.

"It makes me feel like they feel that we're not trustworthy and we're thieves," he said. "That concerns me." Fiske has said that in order to provide the same level of coverage at the track as in September, $174,500 - $134,000 of that for police coverage - is as low as he can go. That figure is already down significantly from the $263,000 the track paid for police and fire coverage in June 2009, and the selectmen are "totally supportive" of maintaining the same level of manpower, he said. Fiske said he collects about 80 officers from Loudon and towns across the state who make $43 per hour to work the race weekend. He said he knows asking Gappens to sign the memo "puts a bad taste in people's mouths," but he "can't stand" to leave the town holding the rest of the bill in order to provide adequate coverage.

At the company's other speedway locations, Gappens said state and local officials provide coverage for no charge in recognition of the boon to the local economy. Concord Monitor

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