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Joyce Endee

Wakefield Deliberative Session draws good crowd

February 10, 2011
WAKEFIELD — About 100 people showed for Wakefield's delayed Deliberative Session Monday night and approved sending the $3,956,452 operating budget to the ballot on March 8.

According to Town Administrator Teresa Williams, it was a good meeting that prompted good-spirited discussion on a few items but went smoothly and finished in just under two hours.

The meeting was originally scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 5, but had to be rescheduled due to a snowstorm that day.

Wakefield, an SB2 voting town, holds a Deliberative Session where articles and budget lines can be amended with the results being printed on a ballot. Voters will go to the polls and vote on elected officials, zoning changes, and budget items March 8 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the Opera House upstairs at town hall.

Selectmen here have voted not to accept the Budget Committee's recommended budget because it is about $18,000 more than what the selectmen asked for. Once the Budget Committee had a chance to meet with all department heads and agencies, they came up with more for the library, fire department and Heritage Commission. In addition, following Monday night's session, an extra $1,783 was added for Town Clerk training, bringing the total operating budget to $3,956,452.

Now with the budget set, there is no more opportunity to make amendments to it. If for any reason voters decide to vote against it, the town automatically defaults to its 2010 budget.

New this year is the passage of NH House Bill 77 that was introduced this year and moved swiftly to governor's signature in time for this year's SB2 budget season. In the past, if voters at the Deliberative Session did not like the intent of an article they could gut it so the only thing that would show on the ballot is "To see if…." and the ballot would give no indication of what might have been there. Now, with passage of HB 77, voters can amend the money amount in an article but "no warrant article shall be amended to eliminate the subject matter of the article."

There were no attempts to gut any articles at this year's Wakefield Deliberative Session and all articles will appear as currently written by the Board of Selectmen.

Martin Lord & Osman
Salmon Press
Martin Lord Osman
Varney Smith
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