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Allenstown school budget defeated at town meeting

Union Leader Correspondent

March 18. 2017 1:03AM

ALLENSTOWN — The proposed operating budget for the school district failed at this year’s town meeting after residents added nearly $400,000 to it during this year’s deliberative session.

At a meeting in January, the budget committee asked the school board to knock its budget down to $10,000,000 from the $10,392,853 figure it had presented. The proposed budget was up a little more than 6 percent from the previous year.

The budget committee called for the cut, citing concerns about the impact on the town’s tax rate.

However, during the Feb. 4 deliberative session, residents voted in favor of adding that nearly $400,000 back into the budget, bringing the number back to that of the original proposal.

The budget failed after 235 residents voted against it. The default budget of $10,184,208 will now be used by school officials over the next fiscal year.

Residents also voted down a warrant article that would have established a student resource officer position for the two Allenstown schools and raised $84,000 for the first year’s salary.

The warrant article called for a three year contract for the position and future salaries would be raised at subsequent town meetings.

The remaining three warrant articles, including two agreements with the Allenstown Teachers Association and Paraprofessional Association, were approved.

Only one warrant article failed, a petition warrant article asking voters if they were in favor of approving a tax abatement for a qualifying charter school in town. This meant any school meeting the requirements could either have their taxes reduced or eliminated completely.

The remaining 20 warrant articles were approved by voters.

One included allowing sewer department officials to seek a roughly $1.6 million bond or loan for engineering and construction of a new wastewater pump station off Library Street. The new design would keep sewer flow in Allenstown, eliminating the current practice of flowing the material from Allenstown to Pembroke and back through a pipe system underneath the Suncook River.

This would allow for more cost-effective tracking of sewer volume, based on a presentation given to the board of selectmen on Jan. 9.

This project will be paid back through sewer fees.

A full rundown of the election results for both the town and school can be found on the town’s website.

A little over 300 residents came out to the polls on Thursday to vote, after the elections were postponed due to the storm on Tuesday.

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