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Deerfield residents offer minor budget fixes

DEERFIELD -- Besides a minor adjustment to the town's proposed operating budget, Deerfield's deliberative session made no changes to the proposed warrant articles, moving nearly everything along to the ballot with limited discussion.

"We had nothing really controversial, so it was kind of easy," said Town Administrator Leslie Boswak. "No news is good news, sometimes."

The only amendment offered at the meeting was a $711 increase to the budget proposed by Supervisor of the Checklist Cheri Sanborn, which would allow the position's compensation to increase to $10 an hour from the current $7.25 an hour. The amendment was passed after a brief discussion.

Several presentations were given on particular warrants at the meeting.

Deerfield Fire Chief Mark Tibbetts and Police Chief Mike Greeley gave a brief presentation on Article 1, which would raise and appropriate $2,400,000 for the design, engineering, construction, equipping, and furnishing of a Public Safety Complex. It would also raise and appropriate $330,300 to pay the first year's bond issuance costs, along with interest.

Another presentation was given by Planning Board member Lisa Wolford on petition articles 17 and 18, both of which were organized by her and deal with Northern Pass, a major regional electrical transmission project.

Article 17 is a non-binding referendum that asks if "the Town of Deerfield shall state its opposition to any new overhead development of alternating current and direct high current voltage transmission lines within its borders," and in addition if the town has a strong preference for the burial of such lines (with the exception of utility lines for residential and commercial use).

Article 18 asks if the town will "state its opposition to the Northern Pass Transmission project as currently proposed" due to the "impairment of Deerfield's rural, small town character and the further degradation of Deerfield's scenic vistas and natural scenic beauty," among other complaints.

The presentation, which was described by Boswak as "brief, to the point, concise, and well-received," dealt largely with the question of such unburied lines, and the aesthetic and technical problems (i.e. susceptibility to weather events) they produced.

Boswak also noted that "the selectmen have been neutral and have been looking for something such as this to go on the ballot to see the voters weigh in on how they feel about Northern Pass."

The town election will be held March 12 at the Town Hall at 10 Church Street. The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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