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Hooksett officials shorten this year's ballot

HOOKSETT — In response to complaints that the Hooksett town warrant has been too long in recent years, Town Councilors have made a concerted effort to reduce the number of articles on this year's ballot to 16.

"We tried really hard to cut down the warrant so it doesn't take people all day in the voting booth," said Town Administrator Dean Shankle." We put the police cruisers and fire department and public works equipment in the budget instead of separate warrant articles for each item. The articles that are still on warrant pertain to things that are required to be there such as leases and capital reserve requests."

The Deliberative Session is scheduled for 9 a.m. on April 5, with town elections on May 13 from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. at David R. Cawley Middle School.

The budget committee's recommended operating budget is $16,681,262, which represents a $621,720, or 3.87 percent, increase over last year's approved stipend. The estimated municipal tax impact is $6.73 per $1,000 assessed valuation, or $1,682.50 on a $250,000 home.

Should the article be defeated, the default budget is $16,451,761, which signifies a $229,501, or 1.39 percent, bump.

"Most of it is insurances and contracts that were approved last year, like the fire department's union contract, things of that nature," said Shankle. "Insurances increased $426,000, that's why both the operating budget and the default budget are up."

Another article with a potential tax impact details a one-year $52,000 contract increase for the Hooksett Police Union, which represents a 2-percent raise for officers, and 3 cents per $1,000 assessed valuation for taxpayers.

In addition, the town is asking residents to support hiring a full-time town engineer at a projected salary and benefit cost of $91,884. The estimated tax rate impact is 6 cents.

Should all money articles, including the operating budget be approved, the total municipal tax rate will increase from $6.88 to $7.08, or an additional $50 on a $250,000 home.

Voters will also decide on 14 open elected positions.

In addition to three open three-year seats on the Budget Committee, the Town Council has four available positions, including openings in Districts 2 and 3 and two at-large spots.

Other open positions include a two-year slot for town moderator; a two- and three-year term on the Cemetery Commission; and individual three-year seats for Library Trustee, Sewer Commission, and Trustee of the Trust Funds. The Supervisors of the Checklist also have an open six-year term.

The filing period for those interested in running for any of these seats opens March 26 and runs though April 4.

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