P/cloudy
61°
P/cloudy
Hi 66° | Lo 58°

$50K requested to study joint emergency services facility in New Ipswich

  • Dave Cotzin, left, and Bentti Hoiska were among a small number of residents who attended a public hearing on the budget at the town office Tuesday. <br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    Dave Cotzin, left, and Bentti Hoiska were among a small number of residents who attended a public hearing on the budget at the town office Tuesday.
    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

  • A small number of residents attended a public hearing on the budget at the town office Tuesday, resulting in the elimination of two potential warrant articles. <br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    A small number of residents attended a public hearing on the budget at the town office Tuesday, resulting in the elimination of two potential warrant articles.
    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

  • A small number of residents attended a public hearing on the budget at the town office Tuesday, resulting in the elimination of two potential warrant articles. <br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    A small number of residents attended a public hearing on the budget at the town office Tuesday, resulting in the elimination of two potential warrant articles.
    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

  • A small number of residents attended a public hearing on the budget at the town office Tuesday, resulting in the elimination of two potential warrant articles. <br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    A small number of residents attended a public hearing on the budget at the town office Tuesday, resulting in the elimination of two potential warrant articles.
    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

  • A small number of residents attended a public hearing on the budget at the town office Tuesday, resulting in the elimination of two potential warrant articles. <br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    A small number of residents attended a public hearing on the budget at the town office Tuesday, resulting in the elimination of two potential warrant articles.
    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

  • Dave Cotzin, left, and Bentti Hoiska were among a small number of residents who attended a public hearing on the budget at the town office Tuesday. <br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • A small number of residents attended a public hearing on the budget at the town office Tuesday, resulting in the elimination of two potential warrant articles. <br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • A small number of residents attended a public hearing on the budget at the town office Tuesday, resulting in the elimination of two potential warrant articles. <br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • A small number of residents attended a public hearing on the budget at the town office Tuesday, resulting in the elimination of two potential warrant articles. <br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • A small number of residents attended a public hearing on the budget at the town office Tuesday, resulting in the elimination of two potential warrant articles. <br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

NEW IPSWICH — A warrant article asking for $200,000 for a new site and building for the town’s police and emergency services was removed from the proposed warrant at a budget hearing Tuesday. And a separate article asking for $100,000 to fund a study the needs of a facility that would house the Police Department, Fire Department and Emergency Management Services was scaled back.

About a dozen residents attended the budget hearing, where the proposed budget at the beginning of the meeting was $2,575,384. During the course of the meeting, the Select Board eliminated approximately $9,000 from the Public Works budget after eliminating the town’s budget for crushed gravel, leaving the final proposed budget at $2,566,384. The default budget is the same adopted by voters in 2012 by default: $2.5 million.

Three different proposed articles dealt with possible future locations for the Police Department. The board ultimately voted to remove from the warrant an article that called for $200,000 to purchase land, or a building and land, to use as a future Police Department Emergency Management Headquarters. The Police Department is currently renting a building across the street from the town offices, but that building is for sale.

Residents at the meeting objected to the article, asking if the town had considered using land or buildings already owned by the town, instead of making an additional purchase.

A separate article asked for $100,000 to fund a feasibility study to determine housing and space requirements for a combined facility that would house the Police Department, emergency management and Fire Department, but the Select Board knocked that number down to $50,000 after hearing from a Budget Committee member. The study, if approved, would identify a future location for the facility and draft a design.

Budget Committee member and former selectman David Lage said that while he was in favor of a study being done, he felt the amount requested was excessive, and suggested $25,000 would be more in line with the reality of what such a study would cost. The Select Board agreed to reduce the request to $50,000, and to research a more definite cost before the town’s deliberative session.

A third article, brought by petition, requested $46,000 for the demolition of Building No. 2, the former location of the Police Department, which was abandoned in 2008 due to mold infestation. The Select Board voted unanimously not to support the article. Resident and former selectman Bentti Hoiska told the board that if the building wasn’t suitable for a police station, he would like to make sure there was no alternative use for the building before demolishing it, such as using it as a salt shed for the Highway Department.

Repairs to the town pool and funds to continue road reconstruction were some of the other significant requests aired at the hearing.

Two warrant articles this year request funds for rebuilding New Ipswich roads. One asks for $250,000 and the other for $350,000. The money would allow the town to continue to repave several roads earmarked for repaving, including Temple Road, Poor Farm Road and Wheeler Road.

“The roads need help,” said Selectman Ben Cargill at the budget hearing. While the town needs the total $600,000 to finish scheduled priority road reconstruction, the hope is that if residents are not prepared to authorize the total amount at least one of the articles would pass, said Select Board Chair George Lawrence.

The town is also requesting $40,000 to prepare engineering plans for River Road and Poor Farm Road to replace culverts that impact wetlands.

Another warrant article would raise funds for much-needed repairs to the town pool, said Lawrence. If approved, $35,000 would be raised from taxation, and a further $40,000 would be withdrawn from the pool’s capital reserve fund. The money would install a new interior finish and new 7.5 horsepower pump and relief valve, along with general maintenance and a facelift for the pool.

Two petition warrant articles that would amend the town’s zoning ordinance are also on the warrant. The first would rescind a 2004 decision by the town to implement impact fees. The intent of rescinding the fees is to make housing more affordable, according to the article. The current ordinance requires any subdivision or site plan applicant to pay a share of off-site improvements to public facilities affected by the development. The second article would exempt buildings 120 square feet or smaller, portable fabric-covered shelters or greenhouses, and temporary tents or booths from requiring a building permit. Both articles are recommended by the Planning Board.

The town requested the creation of two revolving funds, one which would use a portion of the cable franchise fee to improving the town’s ability to tape and broadcast meetings and post them online. The other revolving fund would have supported the town’s Green Center, a goods exchange area in the transfer station, but the board ultimately eliminated the article based on the N.H. Department of Revenue Administration’s recommendation.

The New Ipswich Fire Department is requesting $25,000 to repave the department parking lot. The town is also requesting $35,000 to fund the public library, $71,311 for ambulance services and $6,300 to fund multiple regional health services.

The town will hold its first deliberative session on Feb. 5 at 7 p.m. at Mascenic Regional High School. Polls will be open for voting on March 12, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. at Mascenic Regional High School.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 235 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter at @AshleySaari.

When a town, the size of NI, starts thinking of paying for "studies" of where and how to build offices, with the knowledge that's in town, one must think it's time to move on.

Post a Comment

You must be registered to comment on stories. Click here to register.