Plaistow: Voters OK boosting selectmen pay to $3k
PLAISTOW - Voters made no significant changes to the town warrant at Saturday's deliberative session, sending a $7.7 million town budget and other proposed articles to a final vote in March.
Nearly 40 voters turned out to debate the warrant, which included a proposal to increase the annual salaries of each of the five selectmen from $1,000 to $3,000.
Selectmen said the town hasn't increased the pay for the position in 43 years and that towns of similar size are paying their selectmen more than $3,000.
After the meeting, Selectmen Bob Gray and Daniel Poliquin said they're not looking for more compensation for their time, necessarily, but the out-of-pocket expenses that add up. Gray said he and other selectmen have absorbed the cost of cellphones, gas and other expenses related to the job.
"No matter what, it will always be a volunteer job," Gray said.
Poliquin said he kept track of the hours he put into the job four years ago and found it was paying 4.83 cents an hour before taxes.
"We don't do it for the money, obviously," he said.
Voters made no changes to proposed articles seeking $400,000 in water user fees, reserves and impact fees to install fire suppression waterlines along Route 125 from East Road to Old Road and a $30,000 plan to conduct a feasibility study to evaluate the potential for converting the town's fire protection system into a potable water system that could serve as drinking water and fire protection. Town officials say Plaistow is facing water resource challenges because of contamination from the Beede Waste Oil Superfund site and needs to find other options.
Proposed articles to spend $25,000 for an architectural and cost study of the town's public safety complex and $80,000 to build an outdoor shelter at the Old County Road recreation facility also moved to the warrant unchanged.
Meanwhile, longtime Selectman Charles "Buzzy" Blinn was recognized Saturday for his 21 years of service. He has chosen not to run for reelection in March.
"I really am proud of Plaistow and everything it does," he said.