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January 13. 2013 9:20PM

Three citizens petitions for Raymond town warrant

RAYMOND - Three citizens petitions have been submitted to the town clerk for consideration by voters in March.

One article asks voters to approve $18,000 for renovations to the Raymond Historical Society on Depot Road.

A second asks voters to prohibit the use of ATV's, dirt bikes and other similar recreational vehicles in a neighborhood of small lot homes off Route 107. According to the petition, people in the neighborhood live on one-eighth to one-half-acre lots and many are elderly, afflicted with anxiety disorders, chronic asthma, seizure disorders and COPD.

"The use of ATVs and dirt bikes in such a densely populated area has adverse effects on these physical disorders," according to the petition.

The third article was submitted by conservation commission member Cheryl Killam.

Killam is asking voters to direct the board of selectmen to reimburse her outstanding legal expenses of $10,856.85, which she incurred fighting a legal case against them.

Killam won the case, and the selectmen were ordered by the court to reimburse her $10,000, about half of her legal fees. The town also incurred about $35,000 in legal fees defending the case, Killam said.

That number could not be confirmed by the town.

In her petition, which received at least the 25 required signatures to be placed on the ballot, Killam states that no citizen who volunteers on a Raymond town board should ever have to pay to defend themselves against a board that violates the citizen's constitutional rights.

A Rockingham County Superior Court judge ruled that Killam's constitutional rights had been violated when the selectmen removed her from the conservation commission "for cause" and without a public hearing.

The judge also ordered that Killam be reinstated on the commission, which was done in March.

"No citizen who volunteers on a town board should ever have to pay to defend their constitutional rights, especially when the court finds in their favor, and the court did by reinstating me back on the conservation commission," Killam said on Friday.

Killam said she hopes the voters agree that the expense was not necessary.

"If proper procedures had been followed and they (the board of selectmen) provided me the public hearing I requested, it never would have happened," Killam said.

At the same time Killam was removed from the commission, three other members were also removed after the selectmen found they had violated the commission's bylaws by signing citizens petitions.

Killam said she is not sure if that issue will come up again this year.

"However, if it does, it's a violation of a citizen's constitutional rights. Any citizen has a right to sign a citizens petition," Killam said.

The public will have a chance to discuss all warrant articles at the town's deliberative session on Feb. 2 at Raymond High School.


gmacalaster@newstote.com

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