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Budget to fix Goffstown roads cut to pay for dump truck

GOFFSTOWN - The Budget Committee added $185,000 to the public works budget to replace a 10-wheel dump truck, paying for it by cutting $500,000 from the road reclamation budget.

Following several rounds of negotiations, the committee took aim at capital improvement projects at its meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 11, cutting a total of $433,000 from the budget presented to them by selectmen last month.

'I'm looking at the road plan line of $1.5 million, and I don't know that I would have a problem returning $185,000 to the 10-wheeler line if I could take that road plan down to about $1 million,' said committee member Guy Caron.

Caron said this puts $315,000 back into taxpayers' pockets while giving public works the truck they need.

Committee member Joe Spoerl said he was against cutting into the road reclamation program, which has been slashed over the last several years from over $2 million to its current $500,000.

'Some of us taxpayers have lost tires and wheels and axles to the bad roads that we are forced to drive on every day,' he said.

One member said she recently had to replace an axle because of Goffstown's potholes, but would still vote for Caron's proposal.

Member Scott Gross, who also dissented, asked whether the Budget Committee would consider restoring funds to the road program if the dump truck could be paid for through the existing budget. Committee members responded that it's too early to say, though Guy Caron said he didn't see why not.

In spite of objections, the measure passed the 11-member board with just three dissenting votes.

The truck is intended to replace a current 10-wheeler that has been parked because of a crack in the frame, which officials consider unsafe for driving.

Public works will issue a request for proposals for either a new or used truck. It's uncertain whether it will be acquired in time for winter plowing, which could mean hiring a contractor or increasing the length of other plow routes.

The committee then voted to cut $118,000 budgeted for a tractor that would have allowed public works to haul trash to Bethlehem, a change that DPW head Carl Quiram said would have paid for itself in about three years.

Following the vote, which also passed 8-3 with the same dissenters, Quiram was asked to make a case for the purchase of any additional vehicles for public works.

'You just cut my case,' he said, referring to the decision not to fund the tractor.

The committee then reviewed the Police Department's request for a new police command post vehicle, a $95,180 purchase, and following a pitch from Police Chief Patrick Sullivan, decided to leave the item alone.

Following the two revisions, the CIP budget now stands at $1,350,282.

In addition, seven appropriation articles are to be put to the voters apart from the operating budgets.

Gross said four of them will be paid for through fund balance, and will not have a direct tax impact.

These include $300,000 for finance software for the police for $169,425, the repair of a culvert for $120,000, and $102,000 for the improvement of the intersection at Routes 114 and 13.

Special articles that will affect the tax rate include funding the Main Street Program for $20,000, $30,208 for the public works collective bargaining agreement, and $75,000 for a fire department equipment capital reserve fund.

A public hearing on Goffstown's town, school and water budgets will be held Jan. 8 at 7 p.m. at the high school, with a snow date the following night.

The town deliberative session takes place Feb. 6 at 7 p.m., also with a snow date the next night. And on March 12 the voters will have the final say.

The deadline for petition articles is Jan. 8.

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