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February 05. 2014 9:28PM

Pelham voters zero out article that aimed to cut budget

PELHAM — It was a quick deliberative session on Tuesday night as voters took about 75 minutes to work through a 14-article warrant.

“There really was no controversy,” said Selectman William McDevitt. “It was a quiet meeting.”

Voters moved forward the proposed town operating budget of $13,423,831 to the March 11 town election ballot. That figure is only about $113,000 more than last year’s approved budget of $13,310,525.

The only article that looked to be controversial was largely nullified by an amendment by Pelham Fire Lt. John Ignatowicz.

A petition article on the warrant submitted by Budget Committee member Leo Rush sought to cut the proposed town operating budget by $624,000, 5 percent of the total.Ignatowicz amendment to the article, which was overwhelmingly passed by a show of hands, changed the wording in the article from $624,000 to zero dollars.

“The article will still be on the ballot, but the amount will be zero,” said McDevitt.

Voters also supported an article changing the elderly exemption on property taxes that the town grants to residents who are 80 or older.The new exemption takes a three-tiered approach, granting up to $33,000 off assessed property values for property owners 64 to 74, $85,000 for those 75 to 79, and capping it at $100,000 off the assessed property value for those 80 and older.If approved at the ballot box, the 80-year-old owner of a $300,000 home in Pelham would get a $2,287 reduction in their property tax bill rather than the full $7,000 exemption.

McDevitt said the revised exemptions would be fairer to all property owners in the town.


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