Derry council holds public hearing on town charter amendments
By ADAM SWIFT Union Leader Correspondent
DERRY - There was no public discussion and little disagreement among town councilors as the Town Council held a hearing late last week on six charter amendments that will appear on the March 13 local ballot.
This is the third go round for charter changes in the past year, as voters approved a dozen charter changes at the last town election and during the state primary election in September.
Councilor Brian Chirichiello voted against putting two of the charter changes on the ballot, but there was little debate over the proposals.
Chirichiello said he doesn't support the change that would determine the tax cap through the Northeast regional Consumer Price Index as opposed to the national CPI.
"Historically, the Northeast CPI is higher and this is a way to create more wiggle room with the budget. That may not be a bad thing, but I think it should be tied into the national CPI," he said.
However, councilor Joel Olbricht said it makes more sense to tie into the regional CPI.
"I think it is more important to tie into what is happening in the Northeast than what is happening in California for a year," he said.
Chirichiello also said he wouldn't support a change in language that states the Planning Board may meet, rather than must meet, once per year with the Town Council to discuss the town's capital improvement plan.
"I think that it is important that there is an annual meeting between the Planning Board and Town Council to discuss capital improvements," he said.
Councilor David Milz said the intent of the charter commission was to have the two boards meet if there was a major capital outlay for the year, but not to make it mandatory if there were no major budget items for the year.
Other charter changes that will appear on the March 13 ballot include giving the town council the authority to decide if a town administrator has to live in Derry when a contract is signed, doing away with the $1 filing fee for candidates for public office, and doing away with language referring to the defunct East Derry Fire District in the charter.