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Temple

Budget, all articles pass resoundingly

New air packs for fire department approved; easement will be placed on Town Forest

  • The 2014 Temple Town Meeting took place on Saturday, Mar. 15.
  • The 2014 Temple Town Meeting took place on Saturday, Mar. 15.
  • The 2014 Temple Town Meeting took place on Saturday, Mar. 15.
  • The 2014 Temple Town Meeting took place on Saturday, Mar. 15.
  • The 2014 Temple Town Meeting took place on Saturday, Mar. 15.
  • The 2014 Temple Town Meeting took place on Saturday, Mar. 15.
  • The 2014 Temple Town Meeting took place on Saturday, Mar. 15.
  • The 2014 Temple Town Meeting took place on Saturday, Mar. 15.
  • The 2014 Temple Town Meeting took place on Saturday, Mar. 15.
  • The 2014 Temple Town Meeting took place on Saturday, Mar. 15.
  • The 2014 Temple Town Meeting took place on Saturday, Mar. 15.
  • The 2014 Temple Town Meeting took place on Saturday, Mar. 15.
  • The 2014 Temple Town Meeting took place on Saturday, Mar. 15.
  • The 2014 Temple Town Meeting took place on Saturday, Mar. 15.
  • The 2014 Temple Town Meeting took place on Saturday, Mar. 15.
  • The 2014 Temple Town Meeting took place on Saturday, Mar. 15.
  • The 2014 Temple Town Meeting took place on Saturday, Mar. 15.
  • The 2014 Temple Town Meeting took place on Saturday, Mar. 15.
  • The 2014 Temple Town Meeting took place on Saturday, Mar. 15.
  • The 2014 Temple Town Meeting took place on Saturday, Mar. 15.
  • The 2014 Temple Town Meeting took place on Saturday, Mar. 15.
  • The 2014 Temple Town Meeting took place on Saturday, Mar. 15.
  • The 2014 Temple Town Meeting took place on Saturday, Mar. 15.
  • The 2014 Temple Town Meeting took place on Saturday, Mar. 15.
  • The 2014 Temple Town Meeting took place on Saturday, Mar. 15.
  • The 2014 Temple Town Meeting took place on Saturday, Mar. 15.
  • The 2014 Temple Town Meeting took place on Saturday, Mar. 15.
  • The 2014 Temple Town Meeting took place on Saturday, Mar. 15.
  • The 2014 Temple Town Meeting took place on Saturday, Mar. 15.
  • The 2014 Temple Town Meeting took place on Saturday, Mar. 15.
  • The 2014 Temple Town Meeting took place on Saturday, Mar. 15.
  • The 2014 Temple Town Meeting took place on Saturday, Mar. 15.
  • The 2014 Temple Town Meeting took place on Saturday, Mar. 15.
  • The 2014 Temple Town Meeting took place on Saturday, Mar. 15.
  • The 2014 Temple Town Meeting took place on Saturday, Mar. 15.
  • The 2014 Temple Town Meeting took place on Saturday, Mar. 15.
  • The 2014 Temple Town Meeting took place on Saturday, Mar. 15.
  • The 2014 Temple Town Meeting took place on Saturday, Mar. 15.
  • The 2014 Temple Town Meeting took place on Saturday, Mar. 15.
  • The 2014 Temple Town Meeting took place on Saturday, Mar. 15.
  • The 2014 Temple Town Meeting took place on Saturday, Mar. 15.
  • The 2014 Temple Town Meeting took place on Saturday, Mar. 15.
  • The 2014 Temple Town Meeting took place on Saturday, Mar. 15.
  • The 2014 Temple Town Meeting took place on Saturday, Mar. 15.
  • The 2014 Temple Town Meeting took place on Saturday, Mar. 15.
  • The 2014 Temple Town Meeting took place on Saturday, Mar. 15.
  • The 2014 Temple Town Meeting took place on Saturday, Mar. 15.
  • The 2014 Temple Town Meeting took place on Saturday, Mar. 15.
  • The 2014 Temple Town Meeting took place on Saturday, Mar. 15.
  • The 2014 Temple Town Meeting took place on Saturday, Mar. 15.
  • The 2014 Temple Town Meeting took place on Saturday, Mar. 15.
  • The 2014 Temple Town Meeting took place on Saturday, Mar. 15.
  • The 2014 Temple Town Meeting took place on Saturday, Mar. 15.
  • The 2014 Temple Town Meeting took place on Saturday, Mar. 15.

After a lengthy and somewhat contentious debate among the Select Board, the Budget Committee and townspeople, Temple voters passed a $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.

Budget Advisory Committee chair Steve Andersen urged the town to work on paying off its outstanding debts accrued through financing various warrant articles in past years.

“We hear things like ‘We’re all working together to smooth out the budget.’ It’s not smooth – it looks like an EKG,” Andersen said. After a back-and-forth with moderator Steven Cullinan that resulted in no amendments or movements being made, Andersen ceded the microphone and his argument for the day with this parting shot: “I’ll just let everybody vote Yes, and we’ll see you at the polls next year.”

New Fire Chief George Clark presented a warrant article asking for $64,000 for new air packs for the Fire Department. The breathing apparati allow firefighters to breathe safely within a burning building without fear of smoke inhalation. Currently, the town uses a set of nearly 15-year-old devices. “We use these on 90 percent of our calls,” Clark said. “We’ve had two structure fires in town already this year. If we didn’t have these air packs, I’m 99.9 percent sure those structures would have burned to the ground.”

The usage life of the department’s current air packs expires in January 2015, Clark explained. “If they don’t get replaced, we sit outside until the fire breaks through the walls of the house, and then we fight it from the outside,” Clark said.

Peter Von Sneidern was one of several townspeople to speak in favor of approving the article.

“To skimp on safety equipment is just a fool’s errand,” Von Sneidern said.

The Select Board amended the article to note that they had applied for a FEMA grant that would fund 95 percent of the cost. As it was a bond issue, a secret ballot vote was required; the article passed 140-2.

An article asking for $41,520 for a new ambulance for the Wilton Ambulance Service was recommended by the selectmen. The article was contingent upon passage of similar articles by the towns of Wilton and Lyndeborough, the other two towns that use the service. Outgoing Selectman Michael Darnell spoke in favor of the article.

“We really have no choice,” Darnell said. “If we want to have an ambulance service, we have to pay our share of it.”

The article passed in a voice vote; it passed in Wilton and Lyndeborough as well.

Road agent Tim Fiske spoke to an article requesting $29,000 for the Asphalt and Paving Expendable Trust Fund, which would be used to repair and seal heavily-traveled sections of Boutwell Hill and Hadley Highway as a preventive measure.

“General Miller Highway is a perfect example of what happens when you stop sealing your roads – they get blown to pieces,” Fiske said.

The article passed, as did a subsequent article requesting $15,500 to repair a bridge on Converse Road.

A petition warrant article asking for $11,000 to contract with Fairpoint Communications to expand and upgrade their Internet service for the town’s unserved and under-served residents was presented by Ken Sullivan. About 10 percent of the town either has no Internet access or only has access to very low-speed service, Sullivan explained.

Ted Sartell spoke out in favor of the article.

“Is this really different than spending money to repair a road or a bridge that a small portion of the town uses?” Sartell asked. “This is the bridge and highway system of today.”

John Dennis voiced his concern that Fairpoint only offers DSL broadband and not the faster, more reliable cable or fiber optic options.

“The technology we’re talking about is actually obsolete,” Dennis said.

Bill Ezell pointed out that the broadband option would still be an upgrade over not having service at all.

“While I don’t think DSL is an adequate solution, it is a solution,” Ezell said. The article went to a ballot vote; it passed 83-60.

The final article of the day asked the town to permanently protect the Temple Town Forest by placing a conservation easement on the land. Conservation Commission Chair Lincoln Geiger explained the history of the 53-acre parcel of forest, which was sold to the town in 1933 and officially became the town forest in 1978. The forest is criss-crossed with two hiking trails, as well as a number of unique stone walls — “Wide enough to drive a truck on top of,” Conservation Commission member Sean Radcliffe added — and is home to several black gum trees and colonies of Allegheny mound ants, both of which are relatively rare in New Hampshire. Portions of the land are currently contracted by Ben Fisk, allowing him to tap the forest’s maple trees for sap.

“In a small way, the town forest is actually making money for the town,” Radcliffe said.

Geiger, who was also involved with the successful movement for Wilton’s Frye land easement, urged that the time was ripe to officially conserve Temple’s forest with an easement as well.

“Here’s an important piece of land that we might as well take now instead of waiting another 100 or 200 years to do it,” Geiger said. The article passed.

Before the meeting started, Casey Jones and Kathy Fedorka recognized librarian Priscilla Weston, who is retiring after a half-century of tireless service.

“Fifty years ago,” Jones said, “we had an event here beside which the advent of the Beatles paled — Priscilla Weston became librarian.”

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