Hudson to decide on town, school budgets
HUDSON - With the March 12 election near, residents still have time to refine their positions on the town and school budgets and warrant articles seeking wage increases for town officials and approval of negotiated contracts.
When voters enter the polls, they will be handed two ballots, one for the school district, and one for the town. According to town officials, if the $28 million operating budget and all the requested warrant articles are approved, the new budget would represent a roughly 3 percent increase over the current one.
On the school ballot, voters will be asked to consider a $47 million budget along with a new three-year teachers contract worth roughly $1.4 million. Unlike the town ballot, voters will see some dissension between the School Board and the Budget Committee on two warrant articles. They disagree on Article 5, which seeks $250,000 for a feasibility study to determine facility needs in the district, and Article 6, which would allow the district to keep 2.5 percent of any money left over from the budget at the end of the year instead of giving it back to the town.
Town Clerk Patti Barry said that of the roughly 15,500 registered voters in Hudson, she doesn't expect more than 3,000 to vote.
On the town ballot, voters will be asked to consider five newly negotiated contracts and two wage hikes for the town clerk/tax collector and non-union personnel. Both articles seek 2 percent increases and, like all the articles on the town ballot not related to the Planning Board, were recommended by the selectmen and the Budget Committee.
Barry said that the Board of Selectmen is pushing hard for the new contracts to be approved, with a section on the town website dedicated to breaking down the contracts to explain how they benefit the town.
No changes were made to any warrant articles or the proposed budget at the school district deliberative session. Only one article regarding the construction of a dual senior center/cable TV facility was altered to give it more money if the project is approved.
Voters will be asked to determine who will win highly contested races for the School Board and Board of Selectmen.
In the only election on the school ballot, Michael Truesdell, Lars. T. Christiansen, Laurie Jasper, Patty Langlais and Lynn M. Morin will square off for two school board seats.
In the first of two contested races on the town ballot, Norman G. Martin, Randy Brownrigg, Roger Coutu, Richard B. Kahn and Richard Maddox are looking to sew up a three-year term by winning one of the two available seats.
In the other race, Harry A. Schibanoff and Karen Burnell are seeking a three-year term for the treasurer post.
Joyce Goodwin is running unopposed for a three-year term on the budget committee, but with four open seats, three write-in candidates will be needed to fill out the committee.
David J. Alukonis is running for cemetery trustee; Robert I. Olson seeks a spot on the Code of Ethics Committee; Robin Rodgers and Linda Walkley Kipnes are running for two available spots as a library trustee; and Leonard Lathrop is running to be a trustee of the trust fund.