Peterborough

$11.9 million budget gets wide support

  • Voter Peter Cross, left, chats with Select Board candidate Barbara Miller and ZBA candidate Sharon Monahan  outside the Town House on Tuesday, as former Peterborough resident Wilfred Brassard, who now lives in Keene, looks on.<br/><br/><br/>(Staff photo by Dave Anderson)

    Voter Peter Cross, left, chats with Select Board candidate Barbara Miller and ZBA candidate Sharon Monahan outside the Town House on Tuesday, as former Peterborough resident Wilfred Brassard, who now lives in Keene, looks on.


    (Staff photo by Dave Anderson) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Candidates Barbara Miller and Sharon Monahan campaign outside the Peterborough Town House on Tuesday.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Dave Anderson)

    Candidates Barbara Miller and Sharon Monahan campaign outside the Peterborough Town House on Tuesday.

    (Staff photo by Dave Anderson) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Voter Peter Cross, left, chats with Select Board candidate Barbara Miller and ZBA candidate Sharon Monahan  outside the Town House on Tuesday, as former Peterborough resident Wilfred Brassard, who now lives in Keene, looks on.<br/><br/><br/>(Staff photo by Dave Anderson)
  • Candidates Barbara Miller and Sharon Monahan campaign outside the Peterborough Town House on Tuesday.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Dave Anderson)

PETERBOROUGH — Voters approved an $11.9 million operating budget for fiscal year 2014 on Tuesday and also supported $205,000 for two capital reserve funds.

In the only two contested races on the ballot, Sharon Monahan defeated Bob Lambert, 273 to 126, for a seat on the Zoning Board of Adjustment and Ronald Bowman was elected to a one-year library trustee position, defeating Geoffrey Taylor by a margin of 216 to 91.

Turnout was light, with just 414 of the town’s 4,749 voters showing up to cast ballots.

“The budget passing was great news,” Town Administrator Pam Brenner said on Wednesday. “The budget was only up 2 percent. I think we put a great package together and the vote shows a lot of confidence in what we’re doing.”

Brenner said she wasn’t surprised at the low turnout, which was just 8.7 percent of the town’s registered voters.

“There wasn’t a lot to vote on,” she said. “There was no Select Board race and just a couple of other contests.”

Incumbent Select Board Chair Barbara Miller, who ran unopposed for re-election, received 356 votes, with various write-in candidates getting 17 votes.

“The turnout was so disappointing. It’s such privilege to vote; for people to not take advantage of that is sad,” Miller said on Wednesday.

Budget

At the deliberative session in April where town officials reviewed the $11,878,659 operating budget, Miller said the budget was “essentially flat” when the rate of inflation is taken into account.

The budget, which passed 348-59, includes $68,000 to fund a 1.7 percent merit pool for wage increases for town employees. Increases in retirement costs, which rose by 4 percent, gasoline, expected to rise by 36 percent, and diesel fuel, expected to be up 46 percent, also impacted the budget. And the first payment on the bond for renovations to Adams Pool added $69,735.

Cost savings included $61,380 in health insurance, workers compensation and property and liability costs, as a result of a switch of insurance carriers. The town will also save $14,779 through the use of wood pellet systems for heating the Town House, the wastewater treatment plant and the police station.

The budget also projects revenue of $17,434 through the ambulance transport service that the town started last year.

Capital reserve funds

Voters approved $155,000 for the Fleet Management Capital Reserve Fund (341-65) and $50,000 for the Financial Management Software/Hardware Capital Reserve Fund (337-67).

The fleet management fund was established in 2002 to provide for orderly replacement of vehicles and equipment for the public works and recreation departments. The initial budget proposal called for $185,000 to go into the fund, but that amount was reduced to $155,000 during the budget hearing process.

The financial management fund money will be used to replace 16-year-old tax software and update the town’s financial management server. Voters also approved $50,000 for this fund last year.

Town offices

In addition to electing Monahan to the ZBA, Bowman as a library trustee, and Miller to the Select Board, voters also approved candidates, many of them incumbents, who ran unopposed for 12 other town offices. Gordon Kemp, Leslie Lewis and Paul Sullivan were elected to the Budget Committee. Tom Weeks was elected to the Planning Board. Paula Stewart and Stacey Kolk will serve on the Recreation Committee. David Simpson won a three-year term as a library trustee; Andrew Manns was elected as a trustee of the trust funds; Linda Guyette was elected as a cemetery trustee. And John Franklin, Roland Patten and Jim Grant will again serve as fence viewers.

Other issues

The open session of Town Meeting was held Wednesday night, after press deadline. Voters were to debate three options for dealing with the vacant GAR Hall on Grove Street. They were also to decide whether to authorize a $200,000 bond to bring the roads in the Legacy Woods development in West Peterborough up to town standards, with payment for the bond coming from the residents of the neighborhood; whether to approve a $2.6 million bond for road, water and sewage improvements on Union Street between Main Street and Scott Winn Road; and to support a $28,000 two-year lease purchase agreement for a replacement police cruiser. Results of last night’s meeting will be posted today on the paper’s website, www.ledgertranscript.com.

Dave Anderson can be reached at 924-7172, ext. 233 or danderson@ledgertranscript.com. He’s on Twitter at @DaveAndersonMLT.

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