Milan voters support Kenney in tight race, elect two new selectmenBy DEBRA THORNBLAD
Special to the Union Leader
March 12. 2014 10:58AM
MILAN - Milan voters supported Republican Joseph Kenney for executive councilor over Democrat Michael Cryans by a tight margin of just 10 votes, 104 to 94.On the town ballot, Milan has two new selectmen. Robert Chapman was elected to the three-year opening over Gisele Ouellette, 121 to 68. Selectman George Pozzuto had decided not to run again for selectmen. He was elected as a trustee of the trust funds.Wade Goulet was elected to the two-year opening, available after Selectman Randy Fortin resigned. There were several write-ins for this opening, including Gisele Ouellette with six votes. Robert Chapman, who was elected to the three-year term, and Rick Flint each received three votes and George Pozzuto received two votes. Seven others received one vote each.No one had filed for cemetery trustee. There were 12 write-ins, each with one vote.There were no other races on the town ballot. Incumbent Sandy Pouliot was unchallenged and reelected to the school board.The Milan School District meeting was Monday night and the main article of discussion was a petition article to expand the Milan Village School from sixth to eighth grade. This has been under consideration for a couple of years. At last year's school district meeting, a study committee reported back that it was feasible to do so. The school board spent the rest of the year gathering more information and held a public hearing in the fall. Most of those at the hearing were opposed, feeling students were ready by the end of sixth grade for a larger venue and more opportunities than the small Milan school could provide, particularly in the area of sports and extracurricular activities.The school board voted in December not to proceed, saying most of the input they had received was opposed. But a petition article was submitted that put the issue back on the agenda. The article was advisory only, as the school board by law has the authority to reconfigure grades.Voters, however, soundly defeated the article, 70 to 20.Last year voters successfully cut $75,000 out of the operating budget, and a motion was made this year to do it again.School officials pointed out the cut last year will likely mean not as much will be left at the end of this year to help reduce taxes. It was also noted the proposed budget already included a cut of $45,000, reflecting a decision to cut one teacher.The amendment to cut $75,000 went down in defeat, 53 to 37. The budget was then approved as presented.Voters also approved an extension of the current AREA agreement with Dummer for 10 years and an extension of the AREA agreement with Berlin (for grades 7-12) for three years.Town meetingTown meeting was held Tuesday night. There were no articles on the town warrant beyond the budget and putting money into capital reserve accounts.Selectman Richard Lamontagne reported there were amendments proposed in three areas.An amendment to add $1,600 to the general government part of the budget to give the treasurer a raise was approved.An amendment to cut the ambulance budget by $15,000 was defeated. That budget is up significantly this year, from $6,800 to $25,000. In recent years the ambulance hasn't been used much due mainly to lack of staff. A new ambulance director is on board and is trying to build it back up to be at least mostly self-sufficient, but this year a higher-than-usual subsidy is needed in Milan, which pays two-thirds of the cost, and Dummer, which pays the other third.The amendment was defeated.A third amendment called for decreasing the emergency management budget from $17,000 to $15,000. It, too, was defeated.Lamontagne said there was some discussion on the police budget. The town contracts with Berlin for this service, and the budget is $49,602. Some residents wondered if the town was getting its money's worth, but selectmen said it would cost at least that much for the town to hire its own police officer. No changes were made.The rest of the budget passed with little comment.