Derry councilors, school board members will hold joint meeting to discuss budget, tax issuesBy RYAN LESSARD
Union Leader Corresponndent
September 11. 2018 10:33PM
DERRY — The Derry Town Council and school board have agreed to meet for a joint subcommittee meeting at the Derry Municipal Center on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. to discuss budget and tax issues.
The two bodies have been at loggerheads particularly after a nonbinding town referendum to absorb the district as a town department passed in March.
After two initial meetings of subcommittees from both panels, talks fell apart when members of the Town Council brought an amendment forward in the state Legislature that would have sought state approval for the town to absorb the district.
In order to make the school district a town department, state legislation and a town warrant article are required.
Some members of the school board felt betrayed by the steps made to pass the legislation and decided to discontinue talks in May. In a June meeting, school board member Paul Lutz called the council’s actions “duplicitous” and “underhanded.”
The school board was united in not wanting to entertain the idea of absorbing the district but, after some overtures from the council to continue talks, agreed to meet about discussing budget issues and ways to control rising tax rates — which were the issues underpinning the referendum vote.
Board Chairman Lynn Perkins has previously said he wants to see the joint subcommittee meetings continue.
Town Council Chairman Jim Morgan said he hopes this is just the first of many meetings to come.
“I’m hopeful this is going to be the beginning of a collaborative effort to control taxes in Derry,” Morgan said.
The agenda calls for opening remarks from both Perkins and Morgan, a discussion about budget forecasting and outlook as well as the impact of cuts in state aid.
Future topics listed in the agenda include plans for closing school facilities, future facility needs, the use of fund balances, tax stabilization, economic development and how education plays a role in growth.