March 21, 2019LANCASTER — Lancaster's Town Meeting began last Tuesday night with the White Mountains Regional High School JROTC presenting the colors and the singing of the National Anthem by Issy Gaetjens-Oleson. There were roughly 160 residents in attendance at the Town Hall.
Moderator Jay Riff kept things moving while the town discussed and voted on 35 articles. While a few items brought people to the microphones with comments and questions, the dark pink voter cards showed the final vote of the people. With that said, all articles passed.
Article 32, an annual request for operational funding made by Mount Washington Regional Airport, was the only article that brought a decent amount of discussion, as it does every year.
Airport Board member Wendy Roberts addressed the crowd, explaining "The town of Lancaster joined an agreement with the airport in 2010. Part of that is to help pay for a share of the operating cost of the airport based on a per capita basis. This year the per capita basis winds up being $1.40 per person. The airport has been around for 72 years now. It has been a regional airport that supports the communities and contributes to the economy through pilots and tourism."
Roberts went on to say, "We have reestablished a civil air patrol squadron this year that includes a cadet program for STEM education for our children. We've also been promoting the airport to outside areas which will bring people in. This winter, we have seen an increase of traffic from people flying in to go on snow machine tours."
Roberts added, "It's hard to quantify a direct benefit, but it is a residual benefit to the community."
Roberts explained that the Rotobec company was able to expand operations to a facility in Groveton due in part to the airport, in that the owner of that business owns a plane and uses the airport to fly in and out of as it is the quickest way in and out of our communities. Roberts told the crowd that it is hard to obtain any information as to where exactly fliers go after they land, but she did mention that the famous Justin Timberlake has flown into the airport. In addition to tourism and business, Roberts mentioned that search and rescue teams also utilize the airport.
Newly elected officials include Linda Hutchins who was elected to the Cemetery Committee and Shane Beattie and Chris McVetty, who will now serve on the Budget Committee.
Article 3, to have approved an operating budget of $6,358,404 was passed.
Article 2 in regards to the Wastewater Master Plan and Asset Management Programs to raise $135,000 for the purpose of developing a Wastewater Master Plan and Asset Management Programs for both the wastewater and storm water systems, that will qualify the Town for Federal and State funds was approved by residents.
Article 4, to raise $70,000 to appropriate for the Capitol Reserve Fund with the Highway Department at $40,000, Fire Department, $20,000, Library, $5,000 and Cemetery, $5,000 was passed.
Article 7 to raise $200,000 to pave Garland Road from Marshall Road to the Gore Road and the Gore Road from Garland to North Road, three miles, with said fund to come from the unassigned fund balance was approved by voters.
The town approved $110,000 for the purchase of a new ambulance for the fire department. The town offices will now be renovated after residents approved to raise $20,000 for said project.
A total of $300,000 was approved to upgrade the playground at Col. Town. This will include the removal of the old bleachers that have been unused and not maintained for several years.
After the meeting was adjourned residents took some time to shake hands with neighbors and to catch up with those they hadn't seen in quite a while.