Town Meeting highlights
WILTON — After much discussion during Town Meeting on Thursday night, Wilton’s most controversial article this year, a request for $80,000 to put towards the conservation of 160 acres on Abbott Hill, passed in a 220-90 ballot vote.
Most articles passed with a minimum of discussion, including the town’s budget, which came in at $4,648,089, after two small amendments to the figure brought it up by $3,500. Only two articles — one a petition article to elect the town’s Department of Public Works director and the other $4,200 to survey town-owned land the town would have then gifted to abutting landowners — failed to gain approval at Town Meeting.
LYNDEBOROUGH – All proposed warrant articles in Lyndeborough sailed through Town Meeting on Saturday, including an amended budget of $1,806,333.
Select Board member Kevin Boette put forth an amendment to the budget to increase it by $141,000. The reason, he explained, was due to a recent court decision in which Lyndeborough was ordered to pay Wilton $141,000 following a misapportionment of school funds in 2010.
Boette further explained that the town is required by law to repay the funds, whether the town approved the amendment or not. Even if the town voted down the additional funds, the Department of Revenue Administration would calculate Lyndeborough’s tax rate with the payment factored in.
“The cleaner and more transparent way is to come before this meeting,” said Boette.
HANCOCK -- In Hancock, a proposal to do major renovations to the Meetinghouse, including a new slate roof, upgrades to the foundation and windows and improvements to make the lower portion of the building more accessible, passed by a margin of 171 to 36.
Voters authorized borrowing up to $817,412 for the project, which had been reduced in cost from earlier estimates of as much as $1 million after bids from contractors and commitments from volunteers to do some of the work were received. To date, the town has received more than $47,000 in donations toward the project, and supporters said a total of $240,660 in cash and pledges has been received, which should lower the amount that will need to be borrowed.
Voters unanimously approved the town budget of $1,970,606, with little discussion. They also agreed to use fund balance money to retire debt on the purchase of land on Prospect Hill, to buy a new police cruiser, to rebuild a backhoe, to repair the Nubanusit Lake boat launch site and to help fund the Fourth of July fireworks display.
The police cruiser warrant article was amended to eliminate wording requiring the town to sell or trade its old Crown Victoria cruiser. Police Chief Andrew Wood plans to have that vehicle parked at various locations in town as a speeding deterrent.
DUBLIN — An attempt to reduce the proposed operating budget of $1,841,421 by approximately 2.5 percent — the same amount as the across the board raises designated for town employees — was withdrawn once it was learned that the 2014 net budget, offset by $250,000 from the town’s unreserved fund balance, would be three to four percent lower than last year’s approved budget even if all the money warrant articles were approved.
Voters not all only approved the budget but every other money article on the warrant.
TEMPLE - After a lengthy and somewhat contentious debate between the select board, the budget committee and townspeople, Temple passed its $1,190,902 operating budget at Saturday’s town meeting. That figure does not include the five warrant articles totalling $161,000 that were passed without much discussion, nor the $75,001 in debt service that was the source of much of the day’s debate.
Check back for more Town Meeting results.