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Londonderry mulling how to pay for communication system

Union Leader Correspondent

April 20. 2017 10:56PM

LONDONDERRY — After a warrant article to upgrade the town’s communication system failed to win voters’ approval last month, officials are looking at other ways to help fund the proposed project.

The $3 million communication system upgrade failed to get the three-fifths majority needed to pass at this year’s town meeting.

While most of the money for the upgrade would have come from a bond and capital lease, $1 million would have come from the unassigned fund balance. If passed, voters would have raised $245,000 for the first year of payments through this year’s taxes.

Officials hoped the upgrade would have improved weak signal problems faced by the town’s police and fire departments in certain areas of town. The upgrade also would have allowed the Public Works Department to use the system.

One solution being floated now would be to buy out a cell tower lease.

The current 20-year lease is expected to bring in about $900,000 of revenue for the town during that time, but could be bought out for a lump sum of $425,000 or several smaller payments over a certain period of time.

Doug Smith, the town’s finance director, said he is talking to two companies interested in taking over the lease.

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