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Allenstown fire department takes budget hit

Special to Sunday News

February 01. 2014 8:29PM

ALLENSTOWN - Voters at the town's deliberative session approved one small budget amendment, but voted down a much larger one Saturday.

An amendment to add $4,950 to the town budget for library purposes was approved. An amendment to restore $82,737 for the fire department was voted down.

The proposed town budget for 2014 represents a 3.5 percent increase from the 2013 budget. The amount of 3,677,141 would impact the estimated tax rate by $0.54 per thousand dollars of assessed value.

The budget warrant was approved, including the additional library funds.

Many departments would see cuts this year, especially the fire department, which would see almost $80,000 slashed from the budget, from $307,869 to just $228,000.

Fire Chief Dana Pendergast said he was under pressure to eliminate his only full-time position at the department. "We're a two-member department," said Pendergast. "My goal was to not reduce my staff."

Pendergast said cuts will come in equipment, training, heating oil and electricity.

Eric Lambert, a former volunteer member of the department asked that $82,737 be restored to the budget.

Lambertsaid cuts in equipment and training endanger the town. His motion was voted down.

Resident Kate Walker asked for $4,950 to be restored to the Allenstown Library. A number of residents, including 9-year-old Nicole Tallini, spoke in support of the library. The amendment passed nearly unanimously.

Library director Amber Cushing said she appreciated the support for the library, though even with the restored funds her budget will still be almost $3,200 less than in 2013.

Much of the money will be used for increasing the library's inventory of e-books, licensing fees to show movies and upgrading computers and other technology.

Otherwise all 18 warrant articles passed.

- Harry Kozlowski

Special to the Sunday News

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