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Merrimack town manager suggests adding 2 police posts

Union Leader Correspondent

January 02. 2018 9:29PM

MERRIMACK — Included in the town manager’s proposed $34.5 million budget are two recommendations that would expand the local police force.

Town Manager Eileen Cabanel is proposing the addition of a deputy police chief position and a special police sergeant position for the Merrimack Police Department.

The two new positions have been included in her proposed 2018-2019 budget — an overall spending plan of $34,545,371, which includes about $28.6 million in the general fund.

“In reality, the general fund expenditure is proposed to be $1.586 million (more), which is a 6.22 percent increase,” said Cabanel.

If the proposed budget is approved by the town council without any changes, and voters accept the budget at the polls in April, the town portion of the tax rate is expected to increase from $4.90 per $1,000 of assessed valuation to about $5.27.

While the proposed expenditures are increasing, Cabanel explained that the net revenue is also increasing by nearly $470,000, in part because of an increase in motor vehicle permits, ambulance revenue, sale of property and more.

She is recommending that a deputy police chief position be added — a role that was previously used by the department but was eliminated several years ago when a police prosecutor position was added to the force.

“One of the things that I feel very strongly about is that I would like to ... add the deputy police chief position to the police department again,” Cabanel told the town council recently.

She said it is important to have a person available to support the chief and serve as the second-in-command.

In order to compensate for the added cost of a deputy police chief role, Cabanel is proposing that a vacant administrative lieutenant position be eliminated, which would help fund the new deputy position; an extra $21,000 would still need to be set aside for the position.

Cabanel, along with Police Chief Denise Roy, are also proposing the establishment of a new special investigation police sergeant role.

“This is a new position, which would be a new sergeant position for special investigations in the police department,” said Cabanel, explaining the employee would focus on drug issues among other matters.

If approved, the position would cost about $133,000, which includes health insurance, workers’ compensation, retirement, etc.

Also included in her proposed budget are funds for new voting booths, a new HVAC system at town hall, an extra custodian, additional paving infrastructure, and improvements to Naticook Lake. Town officials may also consider whether to include money for a space-needs study at the South End fire station, which will explore the possibility of a public safety complex.

“The police station is really in rough shape and is being outgrown,” said Nancy Harrington, town council chairman.

Public Safety Merrimack Local and County Government

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