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New Durham's annual Town Meeting March 13 will decide budget hike

Union Leader Correspondent

March 05. 2013 11:18PM

NEW DURHAM - Residents will consider a 20 percent decrease to the town budget, a chance to offset taxes by $175,000 and other municipal matters at the March 13 town meeting.

Voters will elect officials, consider two amendments to the town's zoning and land use ordinance and decide on issues for the Governor Wentworth Regional School District when polls open Tuesday, March 12, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the gymnasium at New Durham School.

The next night, residents will discuss and vote upon the remaining town issues at the annual meeting, which is set to begin at 7 p.m. in the gym.

Article 3 would appropriate $2,963,910 for the operating budget, which would be $604,728 - or 20 percent - lower than last year's amount of $16,875,483.

If approved, Article 4 asks residents to transfer $175,000 from the unassigned fund balance to offset taxes. While the Board of Selectmen recommends this article, the Budget Committee does not.

Article 11 would add $294,500 to 19 existing capital reserve funds to help purchase a variety of municipal vehicles and pay for projects in the future.

Article 12 would appropriate $76,000 to established Expandable Trust Funds to offset future costs of improving town buildings, computer equipment, forest fires, emergencies, employee benefits and managing records.

If approved, Article 8 would appropriate $245,874 for road work, which would be partially offset by funds from the Highway Block Grant Aid. The remaining $54,000 would come from taxation.

Articles 5 and 6 would draw from two capital reserve funds to purchase a new loader for $148,000 and a new pickup truck for the Highway Department for $25,000. If approved, Article 7 would appropriate $11,845 for milfoil treatment by using $7,107 from a related capital reserve fund and accepting $4,738 from a grant from the Exotic Species Program in the state Department of Environmental Services.

Article 9 calls for buying a bailer for the transfer station for $16,500 by using $8,000 from the solid waste capital reserve funds and drawing the remainder from the unassigned fund balance. Article 10 would withdraw $18,400 from the Solid Waste Facilities Improvement Capital Reserve Fund to buy and install a Quonset hut at the transfer station.

If approved, articles 13 and 14 would require the town to list the tally of the recorded votes of selectmen and the Budget Committee as well as the tax impact, if appropriate, for each article on next year's warrant.

Article 15 would allow the selectmen to acquire or sell land and if the board first submits related proposals to the town Planning Board and Conservation Commission for review. After receiving recommendations, two public hearings must be held within 10 to 14 days of one another. The selectmen would have to obtain a written petition with at least 50 signatures of registered voters and vote on the acquisition within seven days of the second meeting before the proposal could be put on a warrant for voters to consider at the annual town meeting or during a special session.

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