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Petition articles and town budget to be addressed at deliberative session


by Tim Croes
Staff Writer - The Baysider
January 29, 2014
ALTON — Nearly 40 warrant articles will be discussed by the voters of Alton during the deliberative session on Wednesday, Feb. 5, at 7 p.m. at the Prospect Mountain High School auditorium.

There are four petition warrant articles that are sure to draw to some questions from the voters, including two articles calling for the elimination of a pair of town employees and of course the town operating budget of almost $7 million.

The petition articles

Article 43 is to remove the current employment position of the town planner, with a 2012 salary of $64,040 per year plus benefits. The article wasn't recommended by the selectmen by a 3-1 vote and not recommended by the budget committee by a 5-0-2 vote.

Article 44 is to remove the current employment position of the town assessor, with a 2012 actual salary of $68,599 per year plus benefits. The article wasn't recommended by the selectmen by a 3-1 vote and not recommended by the budget committee by a 5-0-2 vote.

Article 41 is a petition warrant article to raise and appropriate $500 to pay for audio recording devices to record all town meetings of a public body. The article is recommended by the selectmen by a 4-0 vote and by the budget committee by a 5-0-2 vote.

Article 42 is a petition warrant article calling for the town not to pay the estimated membership fees of $7,000 to be a member of the Lakes Region Planning Commission. The selectmen made no recommendation by a 2-2 vote and the budget committed voted against the article by a 5-0-2 vote.

There are a total of seven articles proposed by the planning board that will be on the ballot but won't be discussed during the deliberative session.

Key articles

Article 19 is to raise and appropriate the operating budget of $6,812,035, with a default budget of $6,743,391 set be used if the article fails. The article is approved by the selectmen by a 4-0 vote and by the budget committee by a 4-0-2 vote and does not include special or individual articles addressed.

Article 45 is to combine the position of town clerk with the office of the tax collector to become a new position titled "town clerk/tax collector." If this article passes, the position shall be elected in March of 2015, and the term of individual as the town clerk or tax collector shall cease to exist and the newly elected town clerk/tax collector shall take office after the March 2015 town meeting. The article is recommended by the selectmen by a 4-0 vote.

Other articles

Article 9 is to see if the town will vote to authorize the selectmen to sell at a public auction a total of 15 lots to the highest bidder based on a minimum (not absolute) bid amount to be set by the selectmen based on the assessed value. Additionally the article is to raise and appropriate the sum of $400,000 to be added to the Fire Equipment Capital Reserve, with the money to come from the sales of property listed below and no amount to come from taxation. The article is recommended by the selectmen by a 3-0 vote and by the budget committee by a 6-0 vote.

Article 10 is to raise and appropriate $65,000 to be placed in the Town Hall Building Improvement Capital Reserve Fund. This would be used for the replacement of the roof and repair of the dormers and trim and other repairs to the town hall. The article is recommended by the selectmen by a 4-0 vote and the budget committee 6-0.

Article 11 is to raise and appropriate $20,000 to be added to the Sidewalk Capital Reserve Fund. The article is recommended by the selectmen by a 4-0 vote and by the budget committee by a 6-0 vote.

Article 12 is to raise and appropriate $40,000 to be added to the Landfill Closure Capital Reserve Fund. These funds are being used to deal with the contamination at the landfill and to meet the state regulatory requirements. The article is recommended by the selectmen by a 4-0 vote and by the budget committee by a 6-0 vote.

Article 13 is to raise and appropriate $20,000 to be placed in the Benefit Pay Expendable Trust Fund. Said funds are recommended by the town auditors to be used to pay for the benefits accrued by town employees and redeemed when they leave employment with the town of Alton. The article is recommended by the selectmen by a 4-0 vote and by the budget committee by a 6-0 vote.

Article 14 is to raise and appropriate $30,000 to be added to the Building and Site Improvement Capital Reserve Fund for the transfer station, which includes the EPA storm water management implementation requirements. The article is recommended by the selectmen by a vote of 4-0 and by the budget committee by a vote of 6-0.

Article 15 is to raise and appropriate $27,500 to be added to the Milfoil Capital Reserve Fund, as recommended by the Milfoil Committee. The article is recommended by the selectmen by a vote of 4-0 and by the budget committee by a vote of 6-0.

Article 16 is to see if the town will vote to establish a capital reserve fund for the purpose of maintaining or repairing the water bandstand and to raise and appropriate $20,000 to be placed in this fund. This sum is to come from the fund balance and no amount to be raised from new taxation. The selectmen are appointed as agents to expend from said fund. The article is recommended by the selectmen by a vote of 4-0 and by the budget committee by a vote of 6-0.

Article 17 is to raise and appropriate $10,000 for repairs to the cemetery buildings. The article is recommended by the selectmen by a vote of 4-0 and by the budget committee by a 6-0 vote.

Article 18 is to raise and appropriate $30,000 to be added to the Senior Center Pearson Road Capital Reserve Fund. The article is recommended by the selectmen by a 4-0 vote and by the budget committee by a 6-0 vote.

Article 20 is to raise and appropriate $211,856 and to authorize the withdrawal of said funds from the Ambulance Operation Fund, with no new funds from taxation. The article is recommended by the selectmen by a 4-0 vote and by the budget committee by a 6-0 vote.

Article 21 is to raise $50,000 to be added to the Alton Fire Station Capital Reserve Fund. The article is recommended by the selectmen by a vote of 4-0 and by the budget committee by a 6-0 vote.

Article 22 is to raise and appropriate $100,000 to be added to the Alton Fire Equipment Capital Reserve Fund, with the focus of repairing or replacing Engine Number 5, a nearly 40-year-old vehicle. The article is recommended by the selectmen by a vote of 4-0 and by the budget committee by a 6-0 vote.

Article 23 is for the purpose of maintaining the West Alton Fire Station. The article is recommended by the selectmen by a vote 4-0 and by the budget committee by a 6-0 vote.

Article 24 is to raise and appropriate $100,000 to be added to the Highway Equipment Capital Reserve Fund. The article is recommended by the selectmen by a 4-0 vote and by the budget committee by a 6-0 vote.

Article 25 is to add $30,000 to the capital reserve fund to cover the unanticipated and emergency maintenance and/or repairs of all the town department's vehicles and equipment, with funds coming from the fund balance and no new money raised from taxation. Additionally, the selectmen are appointed as agents to expend from said fund. The article is approved by the selectmen by a 4-0 vote and by the budget committee by a 6-0 vote.

Article 26 is to add $40,000 to the capital reserve fund to make necessary repairs and or improvements to the highway buildings, with no new funds coming from new taxation. Additionally, the selectmen are appointed as agents to expend from said fund.

The article is recommended by the selectmen by a vote 4-0 and by the budget committee by a 6-0 vote.

Article 27 is to raise and appropriate $750,000 to be added to the highway reconstruction capital reserve fund. This amount is to be offset by revenues from the Highway Block Grant Fund estimated to be $161,335.15. The article is recommended by the selectmen by a vote 4-0 and by the budget committee by a 6-0 vote.

Article 28 is to vote to raise and appropriate $20,000 to be added to the Library Building Improvement/Repair Capital Reserve Fund. The article is recommended by the selectmen by a vote 4-0 and by the budget committee by a 6-0 vote.

There are a total of 11 articles supporting various community service programs that will also be discussed during the deliberative session. A full list is available at the Town Hall and online at www.alton.nh.gov.

Article 40 is to see if the town will discontinue the portion of Stockbridge Corner Road, described as a spur access road off the main road leading to Route 28 near the intersection of the two main roads. This is to be effective upon completion of the intersection upgrades scheduled to be completed by the New Hampshire Department of Transportation by September of 2014.

The final article, Article 46, is hear any reports of any committee, board, trustees, commissions, officials, agents or concerned voters and to vote to accept the same.

Tim Croes can be reached at tcroes@salmonpress.com or 569-3126

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