Wakefield 2104 warrant ready for Feb. 1 Deliberative Session

by Thomas Beeler
Editor of The Granite State News
January 30, 2014
WAKEFIELD — At their relatively short Jan. 22 meeting, Wakefield selectmen approved a revised 2014 default budget of $4,270,548, up from the original total of $4,242,940. There were some overlooked adjustments that needed to be made.

Selectman Chair Ken Paul noted that the proposed budget that will be on the warrant is up 2.61 percent.

In addition to signing the revised default budget, the board also signed copies of the 2014 warrant and assigned who will speak to each of the 24 articles proposed by selectmen at the Feb. 1 Deliberative Session.

The warrant itself contains 36 articles.

Article 1 is for the election of town officers.

Articles 2-9 are zoning changes proposed by the Planning Board. Article 2 adds "Garage, Residential" as a permitted use in residential and agricultural districts. Article 3 makes footnote wording change concerning manufactured housing. Article 4 reduces the minimum square footage for a multifamily or open space dwelling unit from 850 to 800 square feet. Article 5 updates the wording on the Official Zoning Map of the town. Article 6 revises standards in the Residential II Shorefront District. Article 7 increases the time allowed for recreational vehicles, tents and other shelters from 70 to 120 days per year. Article 8 permits temporary structures in all districts but requires them to meet setback requirements. And Article 9 adds "nano brewery" as a permitted use in certain districts.

Articles 10 and 11 are zoning articles submitted by petition. Article 10 changes "Boat and Marine Craft Dealers" from a permitted use to a non-permitted use in the Residential III district. Article 12 does the same thing for "Boat Storage Facility," changing it from a use allowed with a conditional use permit to a non-permitted use in the Residential III district.

Article 12 adds $25,000 to the Ambulance Capital Reserve Fund.

Article 13 adds $10,000 to the Bridge Construction Capital Reserve Fund.

Article 14 adds $143,000 to the Fire Truck Capital Reserve Fund, with $96,000 of the total coming from the Undesignated Fund Balance instead of taxation.

Article 15 adds $75,000 to the Highway Truck Capital Reserve Fund.

Article 16 adds $13,000 to the Invasive Species Expendable Trust Fund.

Article 17 adds $35,000 to the Police Cruiser Capital Reserve Fund.

Article 18 adds $26,000 to the Technology Fund Capital Reserve Fund.

Article 19 adds $45,000 to the Town Hall Improvement Capital Reserve Fund.

Article 20 adds $2,000 to the Cemetery Maintenance Capital Reserve Fund.

Article 21 adds $5,000 to the Cemetery Water Supply & Irrigation Capital Reserve Fund.

Article 22 adds $20,000 to the Parks and Recreation Park and Field Maintenance Capital Reserve Fund.

Article 23 adds $1,750 to the Emergency Management Capital Reserve Fund.

Article 24 adds $20,000 to the Salt Shed Capital Reserve Fund.

Article 25 adds $10,000 to the Transfer Station Facility Capital Reserve Fund.

Article 26 adds $10,000 to the Highway Heavy Equipment Capital Reserve Fund.

Article 27 establishes a new Expendable Trust Fund for Highway Construction Projects and adds $50,000 to it.

Article 28 asks for $1,800 to purchase five sets of tire spike safety strings for the police, to be offset by a 50/50 Highway Safety Grant.

Article 29 asks for $27,000 for a new pickup truck for the transfer station.

Article 30 asks for $20,030 to purchase new accounting software.

Article 31 asks for $27,000 for the purchase and maintenance of a used shuttle or minibus for the Parks and Recreation Department.

Article 32 asks to changes the term of the elected town treasurer from one to three years beginning in 2015.

Article 33 asks to reduce the amount of revenue from the land use change tax going into the Conservation Fund from 100 percent to 50 percent, with 50 percent going instead into the General Fund.

Articles 34 and 35 ask voters for two unused capital reserve funds to be discontinued and any remaining funds to be transferred to the General Fund. The two capital reserve are for Town Cemeteries and Aquifer Protection respectively.

Article 36, inserted by petition, would have the town ask the state legislature "to join nearly 500 municipalities and 16 states, including all other New England states, in calling upon Congress to move forward a constitutional amendment that 1) guarantees the right of our elected representatives and of the American people to safeguard fair elections through authority to regulate political spending, and 2) clarifies that constitutional rights were established for people, not corporations."

Article 37 is the operating budget of $4,313,758, with a default budget of $4,270,548 taking effect if the proposed budget is not approved by a majority of voters.

Other business

The board learned that the town cannot use sewer capital reserve funds to purchase a new truck that could be shared with the transfer station. The funds can only be used for construction and maintenance. Thus Article 27 is needed to purchase the truck.

Selectman Charlie Edwards reported that highway department crews have been working hard plowing, sanding and salting roads. He also said that the annual Ice Fishing Derby has been set for March 1. Pre-registration is open now. The entry fee is $15 for anglers 16 and up, $6 for those under 16.

Selectmen Connie Twombley reported the Heritage Commission will be meeting on Thursday, Jan. 30, at 11:30 a.m. with PSNH about moving the Freight House they own to Turntable Park. Currently PSNH plans to demolish the building.

The Heritage Commission will also be holding a public hearing on the heritage chapter of the town Master Plan on Friday, Feb. 7.

Renovation of the Union Grange Hall has reached the stage of laying carpet and painting. The 1909 HO model railroad construction continues at the Heritage Center.

The commission is looking to get a blue sign on Route 16 directing people to the Union Railroad Station and Heritage Center.

Twombley also reported that the Planning Board has reviewed several preliminary site plans and that the Zoning Board of Adjustment meeting on Monday, Jan. 20, was civil and well handled, despite a 3-2 denial of an appeal of of an approved Boat and Marine Dealer use in a residential section of Route 16.

Twobley proposed and the board approved sending a letter of appreciation to Arlene Fogg for her work on behalf of the town.

The planning meeting with the water commissioners had to be rescheduled. It may be only Dave Tibbetts will be able to attend on a Wednesday.

The board discussed whether or not the town needs to know who is plowing the Class VI section of Marsh Road. Since the road is posted as not being maintained by the town it was decided no action needs to be taken.

Selectmen voted to sign the 2014 engagement letter from auditor Vachon Clukay.

The board will be present at the Deliberative Session on Saturday, Feb. 1, at the Opera House.

The next regular meeting of the Wakefield Board of Selectmen will be on Wednesday, Feb. 12, at 7 p.m. at the Town Hall meeting room.

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