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Funding restored to Memorial Day parade

May 05, 2010
LITTLETON—There will be a Memorial Day parade this year after all, thanks to a vote by selectmen to restore funding.

Last Tuesday, the Board of Selectmen voted two to one to restore $1,400 to pay for police coverage of the annual Memorial Day parade that had been cut from the budget earlier this year.

Board Chairman Ron Bolt and Selectman Ed Boynton voted to restore funding, while Selectman Marghie Seymour voted against the proposal.

The decision was made after a plea by representatives from area veterans' organizations, including the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and the American Legion.

Two weeks ago the veterans attended a Select Board meeting and asked that funding be restored. Funding had been cut during a tough budget season when selectmen made cuts from every department. Parade coverage was one of the things slashed.

The funding was cut for coverage for this parade, Summer Fest Parade, Christmas parade, Fire Department Parade of LIghts and the Lions Antique Car Show parade.

During that meeting two weeks ago several residents, including Rod Trahan and Herb Lahout said they would help pay for the parade if the town refused.

The board did not make a decision but postponed any action until last week when they could devote more time to it.

During last week's meeting, Dan Greenlaw of the VFW said that not having the town pay for the parade was, "kind of like having a loved one die and not paying for the funeral."

While Greenlaw said he appreciated the private offers of support, he said the parade should be more properly paid for by the town and said not doing so would set a bad precedent. "It isn't a VFW parade but the people's parade," Greenlaw said.

All the men whose names are on the Veterans Memorial Bridge died for the town, state and country and therefore should be honored by the people, Greenlaw said.

John Moodie of the Littleton Elks Club, one of the sponsors of the parade, said there was little time to reorganize the parade or arrange alternate funding anyway.

Jim Krajniak, commander of the local American Legion post, suggested shortening the route in the hopes that would cut the cost a little.

Both Bolt and Boynton supported funding the parade, though Bolt wanted to restore funding to all the parades at once while Boynton said he wanted to review the parades one at a time and restore funds based on the merits of each case.

Seymour said that while she was sympathetic to the plea for funding she said she didn't want to second-guess the voters who approved the funding cut. She said she believed the board should stick by the cuts and then put the parade funding in separate warrant articles next year.

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