Warrant passes Rindge deliberative unscathed

By ASHLEY SAARI

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Published: 02-06-2023 3:29 PM

Rindge voters sped through the town’s deliberative session on Saturday, with no changes to the proposed $4.9 million budget.

In about 45 minutes, the small crowd of about 35 people reviewed a total of 11 warrants, including the budget, but only offered one amendment. Article 7, which proposes to raise $25,000 for the town’s Recreation Facilities Capital Reserve, was the article amended, but the change did not affect the dollar amount.

Selectwoman Marybeth Quill told the crowd that although the article is not specific, the funds are intended to be used to refinish the tennis courts at the town’s Recreation Department. Resident Roberta Oeser asked whether the Select Board had the ability to expend money from the fund, or whether that language should be added. Unless changed by voters, typically a town requires a vote at Town Meeting to expend funds from capital reserve accounts.

Upon learning that selectmen were not the agents on the account, Oeser moved to allow them to withdraw from the fund as needed, in perpetuity. The motion was seconded and passed unanimously.

That was the only change proffered by the public on the warrant on Saturday, with only a handful of questions asked, as the rest of the warrant was moved to the ballot for voting in March untouched.

In another article related to the Recreation Department, the town has requested $10,000 for energy-efficiency improvements on the recreation building at Wellington Park. Quill said the estimates indicate the improvements will pay for themselves in a handful of years through energy savings.

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The town’s proposed budget is $4.9 million, which is about a 5.3 percent increase from the current budget. Selectman Bob Hamilton said the town had struggled to keep the budget down among “skyrocketing” costs.

In addition to the recreation capital reserve, the town is also looking to add to the town’s revaluation capital reserve and library expendable trust.

The town is requesting $20,000 for the revaluation reserve used to pay for cyclical property evaluations. In a separate article, the same amount is requested for the library reserve. Hamilton noted that the fund can be used for any issues with the library building, but specifically, he had concerns regarding the aging boiler.

The town also requests to create a new capital reserve fund, one for general bridge maintenance. The town received $107,697 in bridge aid grants which will be used to start the fund, with no money raised from taxation.

In a similar vein, the town also proposed to discontinue a capital reserve fund, specifically the one which stored funds for the replacement of the Wellington Road bridge. The repairs were completed last year, and upon closing the account, any remaining funds would return to the general fund.

In non-monetary articles, the town is requesting to renew its veteran’s tax credits. A recent change in state law changed the qualification for who receives these benefits to include active-duty service members. Rindge had previously adopted the credits, but must re-adopt them with the new definition.

Article 12 would allow the town to use proceeds from the sale of cemetery lots to be used for the maintenance of cemeteries.

Residents are expected to vote on all warrant issues, including town officers and zoning amendments, on March 14 at the Rindge Memorial Elementary School from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 603-924-7172 ext. 244 or  asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.

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