SANBORNTON — Voters amended the operating budget at Town Meeting Wednesday night to include raises for the police department and more money to hire per diem firefighters.
The operating budget was amended to $3,810,286, about a 3 percent increase from last year.
At the meeting, residents added $19,879 to the police department for raises, $10,925 to the fire department for two more weekly per diem firefighters, $1,500 to the highway department for equipment and $1,344 to the library for operating costs, said Town Clerk Jane Goss.
Voters responded to Police Chief Stephen Hankard’s appeal for higher salaries for police patrolman.
Hankard had said the salary issue was important as officers have been leaving the town’s employ to higher-paying police position in surrounding towns.
Fire Chief Paul Dexter had asked for additional money for firefighters to be paid on a per diem basis to keep the fire department operating at best strength during the week.
Also included in the budget is a 2.5 percent raise for all town employees.
By hand vote, Article 9, which dealt with Blackbrook Watershed protection, was defeated. The article asked voters to approve $38,866 for engineering and constructing at least two sediment traps on Kaulback Road, and for water testing of Lake Winnisquam. The article was recommended by the selectmen but not recommended by the budget committee.
An article for $34,000 for the purchase of a new police cruiser and accompanying equipment was approved.
An article for $168,000 to buy the highway department a new six-wheel dump truck, with a $35,500 first-year payment, also passed.
The selectmen had proposed a $3,776,638 budget.The budget committee had recommended a budget figure of $3,790,452.
Last year’s approved budget was $3,648.473.