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Committee stalls vote on warrant articles


January 13, 2010
During their final school and town budget review last Thursday, the Budget Committee voted to postpone action on town warrants until after their public hearing.

The School Board presented a warrant article to the committee pertaining to leasing out the old library as the SAU office. The committee supported that article, but others on the warrant, including the 2010 petitioned warrant articles, Community Health and Hospice, Child and Family Services, and Genesis will be voted on at a later date.

Chair of the Budget Committee Dick Hickok said the public would like to know where the committee stands on these warrants before the petitions go to the town in March, but committee members argued that most voters will be in favor of the warrants, despite the committee's usual disapproval of outside agencies.

Committee member Dale Dormody suggested holding off on a vote, since no agency representatives turned up at the meeting.

"I can't support any of these (warrants) because no one showed up," said Dormody who anticipated some would show up at the hearing. "What they have to say is important to me. They reserve the right, and we have the right to bring it up as a vote again after the hearing."

School Board representative and committee member Margo Weeks said there have been many discussions in the past on outside agencies, but it is ultimately up to the voters.

"They would have to go to 10 different towns and 20 different meetings. These folks work hard 50 hours a week trying to keep their agencies afloat, sometimes with no payment to help people who need it," said Weeks.

Although Hickok stayed somewhat neutral, he agreed that this discussion on outside agencies has gone on for years, but that the warrant votes could be put off until after the hearing.

The committee did, however, vote to recommend and support the town budget, favoring the current recommended budget at $11,113,660 versus the default budget at $11,316,246 for 2010-2011.

Along with this unanimous vote, the committee supported a bargaining agreement between the Department of Public Works and the town. DPW employees will give up their sick bonus days and save the town almost $15,000. This agreement will help to offset the $100,000 extra tacked onto the budget because of unexpected health insurance spikes.

Budget Committee members will further discuss the petitioned warrant articles at hand and the final school and town budgets at the public hearing on Tuesday, Jan. 12, and Thursday, Jan. 14, to give residents and agencies a chance to speak.

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