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February 04. 2013 10:41PM

Epping to consider big purchases tonight

EPPING - A new $2.3 million public library and a $2.5 million land purchase are among the big-ticket spending proposals to be considered by voters at tonight's annual town deliberative session.

The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. tonight (Tuesday, Feb. 5) at the middle school gymnasium.

The library plan and the proposal to buy about 60 acres of land with five existing wells that could boost the town's water supply are expected to generate the most discussion as voters weigh the costs of the two projects.

Voters have defeated similar proposals to buy the land behind the Epping Crossing shopping center on Route 125 in the past. Selectmen and the budget committee are supporting the proposal this year as a way to accommodate the town's municipal water needs in the future.

The proposed land buy includes $2.3 million to purchase the land and an additional $200,000 to pay for engineering and a hydro report. It would be purchased through a 20-year bond, with half of each bond payment paid by water rates and unit fees. In addition, half of all water connection fees would also be put toward each bond payment.

Meanwhile, the plan to build a new library proposed by library trustees is not being recommended for approval by selectmen and the budget committee.

The 9,072-square-foot library would be built next to the existing Harvey-Mitchell Memorial Library at 151 Main St. As part of the plan, an old fire station would be torn down to make way for the new building while the old library would remain standing for possible town or school use.

Selectmen have opposed the plan this year because of the impact on taxpayers given other spending proposals on the warrant. They urged library trustees to hold off, but trustees decided to put the plan to voters this year.

Voters will also take up a $6.4 million proposed operating budget and a proposal to hire a school resource officer to work full-time in the elementary, middle and high schools. The officer's position would cost $35,570 this year and would be funded beginning July 1. The salary and benefits next year are estimated to cost $76,350.

jschreiber@newstote.com


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