No changes made to Amherst town warrantBy KIMBERLY HOUGHTON
Union Leader Correspondent
February 06. 2014 7:45PM
AMHERST — Local residents will be asked to approve an $11.7 million budget next month at the polls, in addition to several other warrant articles.
During Wednesday’s annual deliberative session, there were no amendments made to the proposed town warrant, according to Town Administrator Jim O’Mara.
“There were some attempts for changes, but those failed,” said O’Mara.
The largest ticket item at the polls will be the proposed $11,774,356 town operating budget, which has the unanimous support of the Board of Selectmen and the Ways and Means Committee.
The recommended spending plan for fiscal year 2015 is about 4 percent higher than the existing budget or an increase of about $487,000.
If approved, the town portion of the local tax rate will be $5.28 per $1,000 of assessed property value. The average homeowner with a home assessed at $330,000 would see an increase of about $30 in the town portion of their tax rate — up from $1,716 to about $1,746 — if the new budget is adopted, according to data provided by the town.
In addition to the budget, voters will also be faced with other decisions on town election day.
A three-year collective bargaining agreement with the local police union is being suggested. The new contract, which would run from July 1, 2014, to June 30, 2017, would include extra salaries and benefits of about $36,000 for the first year, nearly $48,000 for the second year and about $28,600 for the third.
A request for $180,000 to purchase land on Merrimack Road for the purpose of expanding the town’s recreation and playing fields is also being recommended.
Additional funding for various capital reserve funds is being requested by town officials, including $180,000 for the recreation capital reserve; $250,000 for the fire apparatus capital reserve; $50,000 for an ambulance capital reserve; $25,000 for the assessing capital reserve; and $15,000 each for the town computer systems and communication center capital reserve funds.
Several petitioned warrant articles will be listed on the March ballot, including one asking the town to urge the state Legislature to call upon Congress to move forward a constitutional amendment that guarantees the right of elected representatives to safeguard fair elections and get big money out of politics.
A separate petitioned warrant article seeks to delegate the duties and responsibilities of the town’s cemetery trustees to the Board of Selectmen.
Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. on March 11 at Souhegan High School.