February 07. 2013 10:42PM

No big surprises at Alton deliberative town meeting session

Special to the Union Leader

ALTON - A small group of voters made no changes to the bottom line of the operating budget but discussed a number of funding requests on the 2013 town warrant during the deliberative session.

Approximately 75 voters out of 4,022 registered attended the Wednesday night session, which ran four hours and adjourned at 11 p.m.

On the lengthy warrant - with 44 articles total - Articles 12 through 18 request funding for capital reserve accounts: $45,000 for town hall building improvements; $20,000 for the sidewalk fund; $40,000 for the landfill closure fund; $15,000 for the benefits pay trust fund; $35,000 for the building and site improvement fund for the transfer station; $27,500 for the milfoil capital reserve; and $30,000 to the Senior Center Pearson Road fund.

Article 19 seeks approval for the town's proposed 2013 operating budget of $6,457,356; the default amount is $6,423,603.

Warrant articles in excess of $100,000 include a request to withdraw $139,000 from the Ambulance Operation Fund to pay for ambulance personnel wages, supplies and equipment, training, fuel and maintenance. Article 22 seeks $100,000 for the fire equipment capital reserve, with $50,000 coming from fund balance and $50,000 raised from new taxation. The fund was established to repair or replace the fire engines, the oldest of which is 38 years old. Article 26 asks for $750,000 for the highway reconstruction capital reserve account. The amount is partially offset by a state Highway Block grant fund of $160,968, and the money is used to fix town roads.

The warrant includes funding requests for a variety of nonprofit and social service organizations: $8,456 for the Community Action Program; $12,000 for Central New Hampshire VNA and Hospice; $2,000 for the American Red Cross; $10,000 for the Alton Community Services which provides a food pantry and assistance program; $1,500 for New Beginnings; $11,250 for the Genesis program which provides mental health care to area residents; $2,000 for Caregivers Transportation; $2,400 for the Appalachian Mountain Teen Project; and $2,000 for Child and Family Services.

Non-funded warrant articles include one that asks voters to accept a proposed noise ordinance; one petitioned article to revert to elected Firewards for Alton Fire-Rescue; and an easement request that would allow a local resident to construct a septic system. Voters and town officials at Wednesday's session cleared up the language on this petitioned article to make it legal.

Voting day for proposed zoning amendments, town officers and the town warrant will take place on March 12 at the high school from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.