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Hooksett: Voters reject proposed municipal operating budget

Union Leader Correspondent

March 13. 2018 11:56PM
David R. Cawley Middle School custodian Joseph Grise shoveled the walkways in front of the school as hundreds of residents turned out to vote. (Ryan O'Connor/Union Leader Correspondent)

HOOKSETT — The Hooksett Police Department will be receiving a makeover, but Fred C. Underhill School will not. That was the result after more than 800 voters plowed through snowy conditions to vote in Tuesday’s town and school elections.

With a tally of 504-291, voters approved a $762,500 renovation project at the public safety building that will address space issues by relocating the dispatch center to the front of the building.

The Town Council has promised to seek federal and state financial aid to assist with the project. The article just met the three-fifths-majority requirement, garnering 59.6 percent of the vote.

Residents, however, rejected an $18,544,778 million municipal operating budget, 449-340, meaning town officials will have to work with a default budget of $18,250,895, which represents last year’s budget, plus legally required adjustments.

Voters also denied, for the second year in a row, an $88,000 request to hire a full time parks and recreation director.

Also failing was Article 15, which requested $50,000 to be added to the drainage upgrades capital reserve fund.

In the only contested race on the ballot Wayne Goertel (466 votes), Brian Soucy (543) and Jason Hyde (368) earned the three available Budget Committee seats over Germano Martins (309). Marc Miville, who is stepping down from his Town Council seat, was elected town moderator.

Though Article 2, which proposed a $4.06 million addition and renovation to the Fred C. Underhill School to accommodate full-day kindergarten, received more “yes” votes than “no” votes, it failed to garner the required three-fifths majority and failed, 422-315.

Voters also approved the district’s $33,697,490 operating budget, 418-386.

Other money articles that passed included $324,695 to correct drainage issues at the David R. Cawley school field and $62,123 for a new support staff contract

Phil Denbow and Kara Salvas both retained their school board seats with 591 and 608 votes, respectively. Miville won the school moderator seat, but said he’s still evaluating whether he’ll accept the position.

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