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New Ipswich

Town budget fails by 18 votes

$50K must be cut this year; next year, process will change

  • Voters had their say in New Ipswich on Tuesday.
  • Voters had their say in New Ipswich on Tuesday.
  • Voters had their say in New Ipswich on Tuesday.
  • Voters had their say in New Ipswich on Tuesday.
  • Voters had their say in New Ipswich on Tuesday.

NEW IPSWICH — The town’s budget this year failed, leaving the town with $50,000 to cut from its proposed budget. Next year, the town will have to go through a new process to form its budget, with a warrant article calling for the formation of a municipal budget committee passing at the polls.

This year’s proposed budget of $2,612,000 failed at the polls in a narrow 366 yes, 384 no vote, leaving the town with this year’s default budget of $2,571,934. The town also has the option of taking up a special meeting to deal individually with the budget.

This year, no candidates stepped forward for the Select Board seat left empty by departing member Mike Conlin. Becky Doyle, a current Zoning Board member, won by write-in vote, with 225 votes. Doyle was recently a candidate for a one-year appointment to the Select Board after former member Ben Cargill left the board. The remaining Select Board members appointed Woody Meiszner to the position. At the time, Doyle stated that she would not run a write-in campaign on Tuesday. However, supporters of Doyle erected signs asking for voters to write in her name, Doyle said in an interview Wednesday.

Having won the seat, Doyle said that she would be willing to take on the role. “I’m just taking it all in right now,” she said Wednesday.

Multiple petition warrant articles addressing employee pay and benefits as well as how the town forms its budget passed, most by wide margins. One article called for voter approval for any adjustments to town employee wages, including the generation of new positions, wage increases and employee bonuses. The article passed 489-262. Another article, passing by a wide margin, was a petition article asking that all town employees contribute no less than 15 percent of the cost of health, dental and life insurance , which passed in a 613-139 vote.

Two petition articles dealt with how the town crafts its budget. One asked to abolish the town’s Finance Advisory Committee, which failed in a 188-545 vote. However, another article asking that the town adopt a five-member municipal budget committee, with the intent that the Budget Committee would take the place of the current FAC, also passed in a 441-292 vote.

The majority of articles on the warrant passed this year. Among those that failed to make the grade was article 9, which called for the raising of $120,000 to demolish Building no. 2, which has remained empty for several years due to an infestation of black mold in the building. Voters denied the article in a 210-544 vote.

The town also voted no on creating a $2,500 contingency fund for unanticipated expenses. Also denied were two separate articles asking for improvements to the town’s recreation facilities. A $12,000 article asking for repair of cracks and the repainting of the town tennis courts, and $4,200 to purchase the necessary equipment and establish an ice rink in town were both denied. Both articles would have been withdrawn from the Parks and Recreation Capital Reserve fund.

One place the Recreation Department will see improvement is the Town Pool, as the town agreed to raise $75,000 to continue repairs to the pool deck which were started last year.

Road work in town will continue, with the passing of three articles that will appropriate funds for road paving and reconstruction — articles 5 and 6, which requested a total $500,000 for road reconstruction from taxation, and article 7, which accepts a Department of Transportation grant for $124,438 for the same purpose.

Article 17, which asked for $163,500 to be split between multiple town capital reserves and expendable trusts, passed. A separate article asked for the withdrawal of $39,8000 from the Reevaluation Capital Reserve fund to pay for an update of assessed values in town.

Multiple articles asked for town support of private institutions. Article 10 asked for $68,196 to continue contracting licensed ambulance services with Souhegan Valley Ambulance Services, passed 597-140. Article 11, which asks the town for $35,000 to support the New Ipswich Library, also passed 514-227.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ex. 244, or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaari.

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