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February 02. 2013 10:41PM

60 residents change little in Raymond budget plan

RAYMOND - About 60 of the town's more than 5,000 registered voters attended Saturday's deliberative session to discuss 23 warrant articles that will appear on the March ballot.

Under Senate Bill 2, deliberative session provides an opportunity for voters to discuss, ask questions about and make changes to any warrant articles they wish.

Few changes were made on Saturday, and there was little discussion about most articles, including the $7.4 million proposed operating budget and the $195,100 capital improvement plan proposal.

Residents did have questions about two water bond articles that focus on locating, testing and permitting new wells in town and protecting groundwater recharge areas for both current and potential well sites.

"I believe it is an absolute need of the town to develop a new source (of water), but is going to take some time," the town's groundwater consultant, Jamie Emery, said.

The articles ask voters to bond a total of $600,000 to be paid through water user fees, not through general taxation.

A new water rate study is currently under way to determine what the effect on current and future water users would be.

Three citizens' petition warrant articles generated more animated discussion, and though amendments were proposed, only a small change was made.

Some residents expressed the opinion that voters on March 12 should have a chance to vote all citizens' petition warrant articles as proposed, instead of allowing 60 people to make changes to something a resident worked hard to get on the ballot.

"No citizens' warrant petition should be amended on this floor," Selectman Wayne Welch said. "This is a petition from the citizens of the town of Raymond that is put forward to this meeting and . it should stand for the voters of the town of Raymond. We should not be able to sit here and change the intent of that citizens' petition warrant article."

A change was made to warrant Article 21 to specify the Green Hills neighborhood, where at least 25 voters support prohibiting use of the off-road vehicles due to the impact on sick and elderly residents in the densely populated area.

If approved by voters, the article provides a directive for the board of selectmen to draft an ordinance to bring back before voters in 2014. The ordinance cannot be in conflict with state law.

A citizens' petition warrant article asking voters to approve $18,000 for the Raymond Historical Society to repaint the historic Depot on Main Street ahead of the town's 250th anniversary in 2014 was also moved to the ballot after some discussion.



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