UPDATE: Town Meeting, election results for the region
Great Brook School students outside the polls in Hancock on Tuesday afternoon . (Staff photo by Dave Anderson) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »
The town voted to pass the entirety of the proposed warrant during Town Meeting on Saturday.
The town passed the budget, after an amendment to reduce a $10,000 jump in the Road Agent's salary by $8,500, and move those funds to be used for other Highway Department employees salaries. After accepting those amendments, the 2013 budget for Mason is 1,699,543. The town also voted to approve articles for new emergency equipment, including $4,000 for new handguns for the police department and $17,500 for fire safety equipment for the fire department.
About 50 Greenville residents made short work of the town warrant on Saturday, passing the majority of articles untouched.
The town amended the proposed 2013 operating budget to add $500 to the operating budget, for the purpose of purchasing two new printers, one for the town clerk and the other for the tax collector. After the amendment, the budget was approved at $2,027,466.
The town also passed a $35,000 article to continue chemical treatments to bring the town's waste water treatment facility back into adherence with permits, and to use $32,000 from the Town Hall capital reserve fund to do paint and repair the exterior of the Town Hall.
Voters approved the town's operating budget of $9,201,242 at Saturday's Town Meeting, as well as 27 other funding articles.
After much discussion about the structural integrity of the current town office building, the majority of voters approved a warrant article for $35,000 for a preliminary architectural design of a new building at the existing site downtown.
Two contracts with local unions - one with public works employees and a second with police officers - were also approved by voters and will cost taxpayers $18,842 this year.
Francestown voters approved an amended operating budget that included $70,000 for a temporary bridge during Town Meeting on Saturday.
The welfare appropriation of the town budget was also increased to $50,000 from $41,126 (a $13,874 difference), increasing the total operating budget to $1,630,941.
An undercurrent of concern for rising property taxes at Dublin’s Town Meeting this morning (March 16) bubbled to the surface by the time voters reached Article 11 on the ballot, calling for $25,000 to pave the parking lot between Town Hall and the library.
By that time, the assembly of about 100 had already approved a $1.84 million operating budget and the appropriation of nearly $300,000 for various equipment and improvements in town — some of which will come from reserve funds
Hancock voters, on unanimous or near unanimous votes, approved a $1.9 million operating budget, $75,000 for a new 2 1/2-ton pickup truck for the Highway Department and $85,000 for a 1,400-square-foot addition to the town's transfer station building. They also OK'd $45,000 for a pellet boiler heating system in the Town Office, with the money to come from the town's unreserved fund balance rather than through taxation.
During discussion of the budget, Select Board members were asked how the town would adjust if Room and Meals tax revenue from the state, estimated at nearly $74,000 for next year, were to be drastically reduced. Board Chair Carolyn Boland said the town has been building up its unreserved fund balance, which now has about $380,000, and would be able to adjust to a shortfall in state funding if necessary.
Voters approved all warrant articles, and even amended the police budget to include a $1,000 raise for Police Chief Brian Giammarino during Saturday's Town Meeting.
About 100 voters at the Meeting House also approved a plan that will require the Select Board to present during next year's Town Meeting a comprehensive plan to maintain, build and pay for the town's ailing roads. The biggest discussion focused on a proposal for a feasibility study to extract gravel and sand from a lot adjacent to Greenvale Cemetary as soon as this year.
Residents approved all but one warrant article at the Temple Town Meeting on Saturday, including an amended operating budget of $1,255,851.
The budget was amended to reflect a $20,000 increase to the legal expenses line for the proposed wind project that will span both Temple and New Ipswich, as well as $3,000 for winter plowing.
The town will be seeing construction on a new and improved version of the fire station, after voters approved a bond to renovate the current building, as well as add a 5,575 square foot addition.
The $1.7 million addition to the the fire station will be paid for with a $935,000 bond and $763,950 from capital reserve funds. The article for the addition passed decisively at Wilton's Town Meeting on Thursday night, with a 176-53 ballot vote.
ConVal School District
ConVal School District voters rejected a petition article that would have closed Great Brook School by a wide margin yesterday. The article failed by a margin of 1,622 in favor to 2,819 opposed.
The only towns where the proposal, which was sponsored by former School Board representative Gail Cromwell of Temple and Mark Fernald of Sharon, had a majority vote were Temple, Sharon and Greenfield.
In Antrim, the home of Great Brook School, 57 voters were in favor of the petition and 808 against it.
The ConVal School Board’s $45.4 million operating budget passed, 2,278 to 1,940, a 54 percent margin of approval. A School Board recommended article to develop a process for closing a school if enrollment declines fell short of the 2/3rds margin required for approval, getting 2,494 Yes votes and 1,814 No votes.
Butch Estey of Peterborough was reelected to the ConVal School Board with 516 votes, and Jon Ingram, with 574 votes, took the other open Peterborough School Board seat.
Pierce Rigrod won the Hancock School Board seat, unopposed.
Richard Cahoon got 134 write-in votes for the Antrim School Board seat, and Fiona Tibetts got the most write-in votes for the Dublin School Board seat. No one had signed up to run for either seat.
Jaffrey-Rindge School District
A majority of voters approved the district’s operating budget of $25.2 million and narrowly passed a two-year collective bargaining agreement between the Jaffrey-Rindge School District and Jaffrey-Rindge Support Staff Association.
In Rindge, the vote on the budget was a tie, 466 Yes to 466 No votes, but in Jaffrey voters approved the budget, 213 Yes votes to 116 No votes.
Rindge voters defeated the two-year collective bargaining agreement, but the majority of Jaffrey voters supported the contract, which made the difference in the final tally.
Mascenic School District
In Mascenic, two first-time candidates for the School Board have defeated the incumbents in both of the district’s towns.
Newcomer Richard Wallace won by a wide margin in Greenville, defeating incumbent Robert Turner 177-47. The race was considerably closer for the New Ipswich seat, with incumbent School Board Chair Chad Gibson losing out to his opponent Jim Kingston 436-551.
Voters also approved the $17,814,896 district operating budget 707-544.
Former Milford Police Chief and longtime Lyndeborough resident Fred Douglas defeated incumbent Donnie Sawin, with whom Douglas had sparred over police management issues, for the Lyndeborough Select Board seat.
Douglas received 246 votes to Sawin’s 95 votes.
Incumbents for municipal positions carried the day at Tuesday’s polls in New Ipswich. In the town’s two contested races, Select Board Chair George Lawrence and Fire Chief David Leel both won reelection by wide margins.
Lawrence, a longtime member of the Select Board, took more than double the votes of his opponent, John Veeser, winning 680 to 305.
Fire Chief David Leel was up against two other residents in the bid for fire chief. New Ipswich resident and Greenville Emergency Management Director Tim Johnson had few votes, with only 35 residents putting in their vote for him. Capt. Jim Feldhusen of the New Ipswich Fire Department had a better showing, garnering 298 votes. But Leel won the day handily, with a total of 681 votes.
An overwhelming 808 people voted No on ConVal School District Warrant Article 8 on Tuesday to close Great Brook School — more than the overall voter turnout from a year ago. Gordon Webber won an open Select Board seat handily, defeating Shelley Nelkens, 626-199. Christopher Condon and Jesse Lazar were elected to the town’s Planning Board in a contested race.
Steve Osienski and Jeffrey Rose were reelected to the Bennington Select Board for three- and one-year terms, respectively.
The operating budget of $1,523,579 passed by 60 votes, 225-165. Everything else on the Bennington town warrant passed, too, except for the appropriation of $15,000 to be added to the police cruiser capital reserve fund.
The town voted to approve the manner in which Zoning Board of Adjustment members are selected. Instead of Zoning Board members being appointed to a position by the Select Board, members will now be elected.
Incumbent Scott Carbee was reelected to Francestown’s Select Board after a contested race with William McAuley. Two vacated Planning Board seats are now filled by Robert Lindgren — who received the most votes of four potential candidates — and Sarah Pyle. A total of 497 voters turned out at the polls Tuesday.
Voters chose to opt out of the 18-month budget at the polls Tuesday by rescinding a 2012 vote that enacted it along with the fiscal year conversion.
Now Rindge is without an operating budget until town officials are able to petition the Cheshire County Superior Court to hold a special Town Meeting this spring, in order to implement a 12-month budget that starts Jan. 1 and ends Dec. 31. Although a majority of voters approved the 18-month budget of $5.4 million on Tuesday the vote to rescind takes precedence and the 18-month budget does not apply, according to town officials.
Temple, Mason and Mason School District
Across the region, multiple petition articles to change the way towns or districts vote on warrant articles failed to gather enough support to make any changes.
Temple, Mason and the Mason School District all voted on the question of SB2 or Town Meeting. Both towns currently vote at Town Meeting, and the Mason School District decides all warrant articles by ballot vote — and that’s the way it will stay, after voters had their say at the polls on Tuesday.
For voter, town officials and candidate reaction to election and Town Meeting results, as well as more detailed coverage of the elections, see check the website often.