LONDONDERRY — Saturday morning’s town deliberative session drew a smaller than average crowd, with just 70 voters seated in attendance.
Honored at the start of the meeting was 2014 Citizen of the Year Bob Rimol of the Londonderry Trailways organization. Town officials said Rimol was instrumental in the opening of the town’s new Rail Trail, a paved path for walkers and cyclists.
Resident Pauline Caron, a mainstay at most public meetings who also serves on several committees, took the honors as the town’s Volunteer of the Year.Drawing the morning’s most debate was Article 2, asking voters to approve changing the single elected position of Town Clerk/Tax Collector to two separate positions.
If approved by voters next month, citizens would elect a town clerk next year and the tax collector position would become an appointed one.
Town Manager Kevin Smith said the change would save property owners approximately $100,000 in taxes next year, resulting in a tax rate decrease of 3 cents per $1.000 valuation in 2015.
The article has garnered the support of both the Town Council and Budget Committee.
Smith said the new town clerk’s duties would be part-time rather than full-time, and would be limited to such tasks as “vital statistics and dog licenses.”
Resident Bob Saur spoke out against the item, which was nevertheless moved forward to the March ballot.
“A town clerk does a lot more than vital statistics,” said Saur, who expressed concern over potential staffing shortages at Town Hall during election season.
Also moved forward to the March ballot was Article 4, the town’s $28,054,908 operating budget.
If the budget passes next month, the result would be a tax rate impact of $4.86 per $1,000 valuation.
Smith said the proposed budget comes in at $33,000 under the default budget.
Article 9, a $102,473 collective bargaining agreement between the town and the police department union, represents a proposed 1.80 percent average pay rate increase for Londonderry officers. If passed, the tax impact would be 3 cents per $1,000 valuation.
Additional items moved to the March ballot are Article 11, a $275,000 roadway maintenance trust fund item; Article 12, a citizen’s petition asking voters to transfer all responsibilities managing the Londonderry Town Forest to the town manager; and Article 7, a $180,000 upgrade for the town’s 40-year-old highway garage facility.
Ballot voting on all budgetary items will take place March 11 inside the Londonderry High School gymnasium.