Lyndeborough residents to debate police issues at Town Meeting
∎ The budget proposal is an increase of 4.7 percent over last year’s proposed operating budget. If the budget and warrant articles are all approved at Town Meeting in March, total town expenditures will be $1,972,553, an 8.7 percent increase over last year. Those numbers will be partially offset by an expected $590,641 in revenues.
The overall police budget is up 3.5 percent, to $234,552. The department now has two full-time officers and four part-time officers. Lt. Rance Deware, the department’s officer in charge, works part-time. The town’s cost for police retirement accounts is expected to double, from $9,237 last year to a projected $18,300.
∎ Voters will be asked for $23,000 to buy a four-wheel drive police cruiser to replace an existing cruiser. The total cost of the cruiser would be $37,000, with $14,000 coming from funds approved in a warrant article at Town Meeting last year.
∎ Two petition warrant articles that will appear on the ballot resulted from a series of meetings held last year after some residents charged that the Select Board was interfering with the management of the Police Department. One calls for $7,400 “to establish and accomplish a complete and thorough interviewing and vetting process for the hiring of the next commanding officer of the Lyndeborough Police Department.” The money would be used for selection of an outside firm to handle the vetting process and establishment of a citizen’s panel to interview candidates as well as a panel that would include three Lyndeborough voters, one of whom would have to have professional law enforcement experience, to review candidates. The other petition article calls for the Select Board to appoint a police chief, who would operate under the authority of state statute.