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Joyce Endee

Cormier wins third term as Belmont selectman

Voters approve budget, all other monied articles

March 09, 2011
BELMONT Only 440 of the 4,836 registered voters in Belmont made it to the polls on Tuesday, but they made some big statements by saying yes to all financial questions on the ballot, including the $6,710,328 operating budget, which passed by a vote of 315 to 103.

They also said yes to the collective bargaining agreement between the town of Belmont and its Public Works and Public Safety employees, approved the purchase of two fire vehicles, and discontinued ownership of one section of Nelson Court while voting to maintain town ownership of a portion of Rogers Road.

Ron Cormier was returned to the Board of Selectmen for a third term, while Peter Harris maintained his seats on both the Planning Board and the Zoning Board of Adjustment. Joining Harris on the Planning Board this time around will be newcomer Parker Caldrain, who said at a recent candidates' forum that he was new to town government but felt he wanted to become involved for his children's sake and the future of Belmont.

"There's room to grow here if we approach it right," Caldrain said.

At the forum, Caldrain confessed he had little prior experience in such matters, but said he was up for the challenge and looked forward to learning a lot from his involvement with the board.

Norma Patten also handily won her seat back on the Zoning Board, while three alternate positions remain open.

Cormier said he was pleased to have the confidence of the voters once more and thanked them for the opportunity to continue to serve the town. He said he looked forward to moving ahead with plans to improve the Village District, a result of last summer's charrette, which presented Belmont with many ideas on improvements to attract more people and revenue to the downtown area. Question 19 was approved, authorizing town officials to raise and appropriate $178,359 for the construction of a pavilion and river walk, $90,000 of that to be offset by a grant from the Land and Water Conservation Fund and the remaining $88,359 to come through donations of labor and materials.

"I'm looking forward to hearing good news about a pavilion grant we've applied for and acting on other ideas from the charrette. We have all of our events planned, and it should be a good year in Belmont," Cormier said.

Four questions from the Fire Department passed rather easily, allowing the department to expend funds from the Fire/Ambulance Equipment and Apparatus Fund, commonly known as the Comstar account.

Question 5 asked to amend a 1999 town vote which required all funds from ambulance billing to be placed into the account, and instead allow $91,106 in the coming year to be held out for a number of expenses. Among those items were extra shift coverage costs, training, vehicle repairs, fuel and medical supplies.

Voters also approved the use of $450,000 from the account for a new Rescue Pumper and $40,000 for a new Utility truck.

A fourth question asked to establish a new Capital Reserve Fund for dry hydrant and cistern repairs and maintenance. Fire Chief David Parenti said replacement for just one cistern could be as high as $140,000, making plans to save for just such an eventuality a wise measure.

The only "No" vote for the year pertained to ownership of Rogers Road, an item placed on the ballot by petition. Problems with ATV's doing damage to property along a section of the Class VI road instigated the petition in hopes the town would then be able to close off the dirt thoroughfare with gates during the dry season and eliminate ATV traffic in the area. Failure of Question 10 on the ballot means other alternative measures will have to be sought to protect the town-owned land known as Pop's Woods. Cormier said he hoped the matter would be addressed in the near future.

"We'll work to put up signage along that part of Roger's Road and try to address the issues brought forth by the petitioner," he said.

Martin Lord & Osman
Salmon Press
Martin Lord Osman
Varney Smith
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