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Effingham voters pass operating budget, most warrant articles

THOSE ELECTED MARCH 8 in Effingham were officially sworn into their positions following town meeting Saturday. Pictured here are Cemetery Trustee Eric Potter, Selectman Theresa Swanick, Selectman Susan Slack, Planning Board Member Jory Augenti, Budget Committee Member Michael Pilkovsky, Library Trustee Deanna Amaral, Moderator Michael Cauble, and Planning Board Member William Piekut. (Mellisa Ferland photo) (click for larger version)
March 17, 2011
EFFINGHAM — Within minutes of the announcement of his appointment as Effingham's fire chief, Randy Burbank's pager sounded and he was out the door to an emergency call as his first official duty.

It was a yearlong process as voters at 2010 Town Meeting voted to change the way the fire department is organized. Previously, the fire chief was appointed by the volunteer members and the officers were appointed by the chief. On a vote of 94 to 44, voters decided that a new chief would be appointed to a three-year term based on the recommendation of a selectmen-appointed review board and officers and firefighters would also be appointed by the board based on the recommendation of the fire chief.

According to state law, the new chief could not be formally appointed, however, until the following year's Town Meeting, which is why Saturday's announcement was made.

Burbank said 11 applicants have expressed interest in a position on the volunteer fire department. They will be subject to interviews and background checks before becoming members. Burbank's $90,520 budget for the year was approved at Saturday's Town Meeting, which includes the town's $25,020 ambulance contract with Ossipee Valley EMS, $20,000 for member compensation, and $17,750 for truck and equipment maintenance.

Saturday's meeting lasted about four-and-a-half hours with little dispute or discussion of most of the $1,272,706 town operating budget.

In other articles, voters denied a request by petitioners to spend $1,000 to purchase a video camera and make video recordings of all public meetings available. They also cut the request from Life Bridge, Inc., a teen mentoring organization, from $5,000 to $500.

Voters approved purchasing a new police cruiser, funding an engineering study of the town's transfer station, and $2,500 to pursue the expansion of broadband access in the town and update the town's Web site.

In a non-binding resolution, requested by Green Mountain Conservation Director and Effingham resident Blair Folts, selectmen were advised to send a letter to Governor John Lynch asking that he seek alternatives and carefully study the proposed Northern Pass Project that will bring high tension power lines from Canada through the western half of the state. More information about the Project can be found online at www.northernpass.us.

Martin Lord & Osman
Salmon Press
Alton School
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