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Lower budget but some big ticket requests for Sanbornton voters

May 05, 2010
SANBORNTON — Sanbornton voters will gather at the Sanbornton Central School on Wednesday, May 12, to decide on a number of items in their Town Warrant, with articles ranging from technology to infrastructure to a new highway garage.

Town Administrator Bob Veloski said that with some important decisions to be made he hopes to see a good turnout on election day and fat Town's Meeting, where there will be discussion and a lot of information before voting for most warrant articles.

First up will be the article for a bond proposal to replace the old highway garage with one that is safe for employees and will help maintain the equipment purchased in recent years.

Selectmen all agree that conditions at the current garage are "deplorable."

The design obtained through Conneston Construction Incorporated of Laconia calls for an 80 x 122-foot building to house equipment, provide needed office and work space as well as lockers and a lunch room for employees. CCI has capped the project with a Guaranteed Maximum Price of $1.1 million dollars for the demolition of the current garage and construction of the new facility and a cold storage shed. Any costs above that, project manager Bryant Lehr said the company would "eat," but he hoped to come in below that price when the job was done.

Should that article fail, two others for construction of either the garage or the cold storage shed will seek voter approval separately. Neither the budget committee nor the selectmen recommend these articles as they would ultimately cost taxpayers more money for the two buildings.

"If we do one, we still have to do the other sooner or later and that would be two bumps in the taxes. One bump is the better way to go," Budget Committee chair Earl Leighton said at an April 10 public hearing.

Road repairs and construction work on Upper Bay and Bay Roads would complete a road project to improve conditions from one side of Sanbornton to the other. Representatives from Steele Hill Resort have been big advocates of the proposal, saying the current road surface is akin to a "Third World country" and is harming their business. A request for approval of a $3 million bond is being sought to remedy the situation and complete the final leg of the "Y Project" in the town.

Veloski said he hopes people will carefully consider this article. Tax impact would be $1 per thousand and cost a $200,000 homeowner less than the price of fixing damage to their vehicles as a result of the poor road conditions. The state would also reimburse the town for two-thirds of the expense. Critics of the project say they doubt the town would ever see that money, citing the Department of Transportation has yet to pay the town back on other road construction on Hunkins Pond Road. Velsoki reported last week however that he has indeed been getting payments for those projects.

"In the past few weeks we've received $380,000 back from the state, with more to come for other portions of the Y Project and the Maple Circle project that has yet to be billed," Velsoki said.

Other articles ask to allow the library to use funds leftover from 2009 to improve their computer technology, request $5,000 for continued milfoil eradication, approval for the Fire Department to use money from their apparatus fund for equipment purchases not included in their budget and to lease/purchase a police cruiser and a utility truck for Public Works.

The largest item on the warrant will be the approval of the Operating Budget for $3,134,717. Both the Budget Committee and the Selectmen came in with the same figure, which is down $30,000 from the previous year. The only major increases seen in a line-by-line reading of the budget was for insurance costs.

"What can you say? It's insurance," Leighton said at the hearing.

The committee was able to make up that increase by taking a hard look at other line items contained within the budget, resulting in the slight decrease m the budget.

Velsoki said that copies of the warrant and budget may be picked up at Town Hall during business hours or can be obtained through the town's Web site.

"I hope voters will read the warrant carefully and make informed decisions on the articles at Town Meeting," he said.

Littleton Chmber
Martin Lord Osman
Varney Smith
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