Goffstown residents reject bid to add $400k for road repairs
GOFFSTOWN — Some warrant articles at Thursday’s deliberative session were accepted for the March ballot without resident comment, but others brought heated discussions.
A motion by Selectmen Chairman Collis Adams to add $400,000 to the $19,580,945 operating budget for road reclamation prompted objections from Budget Committee members Peter Georgantas, Elizabeth Dubrulle and Guy Caron.
Adams’ amendment called for funds to repair specific roads in Pinardville. He said that during the budget process selectmen cut $1 million from the Public Works Department’s recommended budget of $2.1 million. The Budget Committee cut an additional $550,000, which Adams said “the selectmen felt was simply too deep.”
Georgantas said Public Works Director Carl Quiram said his priority was equipment rather than road repairs. While Georgantas said there are unspent funds available, Adams noted that those funds are reserved for work delayed by weather or other reasons. In a secret ballot, the motion to add $400,000 to the budget was defeated 57-43.
Regarding Warrant Article 31, Rep. John Burt objected to rescinding the authority granted to selectmen relating to grants and unanticipated revenues. Burt said the petitioned warrant is unlawful.
David, whose last name was not identified, proposed an amendment to change the wording to read “reaffirm the selectmen’s authority to apply for and accept grants and unanticipated money.”
David said his intent was to comply with state statute and allow voters to test the judgment of selectmen and prevent a dramatic change in how financing is done in the town.
Most residents who voiced their opinion were in favor of the amendment, but warned that the town should be careful about what grants are accepted. The original petition to rescind the selectmen’s authority was designed to prevent projects such as Plan Pinardville. By voice vote, the amendment to the petitioned article passed.
There were no comments from residents regarding the $4.5 million fire station improvement bond presented by Fire Chief O’Brien.
“During design development, we tried to preserve as much of the current buildings and add on what we need, that way it’s not a big-ticket item and we get what we need,” he said. “The consultants said the stations are maxed out for a number of reasons. They’re not energy efficient, the electrical systems are substandard and the heating systems are substandard. But, they said, and I quote, ‘The bones are still good.’”
However, he said, the consultants warned that further delay of the project could result in the “bones” deteriorating.
If the $19,580,945 operating budget and warrant articles are approved, the total 2014 projected tax rate would be $9.44 per $1,000 property valuation, a tax decrease of $70 for a $250,000 home from 2013. If the proposed budget fails, the default budget would be $19,596,061.