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February 03. 2014 10:26PM

Wolfeboro's $24.4m budget to be aired

WOLFEBORO — The town will hold its municipal deliberative session tonight at 7 at the Kingswood Arts Center.

The session is an opportunity to learn about a variety of funding requests on the town warrant. It is the last chance for residents to make changes to dollar amounts prior to voting day on March 11. In the event of a snowstorm, the deliberative session will be rescheduled to Thursday, Feb. 6, same place and time.

The largest funding request on the town warrant is "Article 7 — Reduced Scope Renovations of Wolfeboro Town Hall," which asks voters to raise and appropriate $4 million. Of that amount, the town would bond not more than $3,889,699 and apply pledged donations of $736,000 generated from the Friends of Wolfeboro Town Hall, Inc., and an existing $110,301 from a town hall repairs capital reserve account to reduce the amount of the bond to about $3.1 million. This warrant requires a three-fifths majority vote. Six years ago, a $6.7 million town hall renovation warrant article was narrowly defeated at the polls.

The estimated tax impact, if approved, of the Article 7 would be 15 cents per $1,000 of valuation in 2015. The board of selectmen recommended the article by a 3-2 vote during a public bond hearing last month; the budget committee voted 7-2 to recommend the article in a subsequent public hearing.

Renovations and repairs to the building include those to make the building completely handicapped accessible and fire code compliant, renovations and changes to interior offices, and exterior repairs to brickwork.

Article 6 requests $1,350,000 for the construction of Middleton Road improvements, including roadway and drainage improvements, but taxpayers would only have to fund $450,000 of the cost as the state will reimburse two-thirds of the cost as part of its state Department of Transportation Municipally Managed Project program. Both the selectmen and budget committee voted unanimously to recommend this article.

Other warrant articles dealing with repairs to the town's building and infrastructure include Article 10, $625,000 for upgrades to town roads and drainage; Article 8, $160,000 to upgrade the Public Works Garage on Pine Hill Road; and Article 11, $100,000 for sidewalk upgrades.

Article 12 requests $50,000 to cover costs associated with renting, fitting out and moving to interim town offices at Huggins Hospital in the event that Article 7 passes. This request will be null and void if it doesn't.

Article 13 requests $30,000 for an expanded feasibility study to expand the Wolfeboro Public Library; Article 14 requests $200,000 to replace a 1994 Digger/Derrick truck for the electric department. Other warrant articles fund capital reserve accounts.

Article 9 is the 2014 Operating Budget of $24,415,881, a bottom line recommended by both the board of selectmen and budget committee. The estimated tax rate of the budget is $4.42 per $1,000.

For a copy of the town warrant and proposed zoning changes, visit www.wolfeboronh.us.

lmulkern@newstote.com


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