Vital questions remain after passage of Sanbornton budget
|Chairman of the Sanbornton Board of Selectmen, David Nickerson (far left), began the selectmen’s meeting last Wednesday evening by swearing in those voted into office during the May 10 elections. Taking the oath of office for their three-year terms are (left to right) Guy Nickerson, Board of Selectmen; Marla Davis, Trustee of the Trust Funds and Library Trustee; Jane Goss, Town Clerk/Tax Collector; Rusty Cederberg, Budget Committee; Melanie Van Tassel, Cemetery Trustee; Judy Burlingame-Rich, Budget Committee, and Karen Ober, one-year term for the Board of Selectmen. (Photo by Donna Rhodes) (click for larger version)|
May 22, 2011SANBORNTON — While Sanbornton's Town Meeting on May 11 went much quicker than expected, one item that was overlooked was the $4,872 difference between the Budget Committee's and the Board of Selectmen's budgets for the transfer station, money which pertained to salary costs for part-time employees.
The only amendment the voting body made to the committee's $3,636,653 budget that evening was an additional $2,500 for the library.
The new board of selectmen, consisting of recently elected Karen Ober, interim member Guy Giunta (who won a full term seat on May 10) and Chairman David Nickerson, were met at their first weekly meeting by several members of the community who asked to address the matter.
June Plummer, an employee at the transfer station, was first to speak to the board, saying she was confused and concerned on where funding for some employees would now come from.
Nickerson said distractions at Town Meeting, such as the lengthy discussion on the warrant article for $42,000 for the Youth Assistance Program and the amendment for the library, drew attention away from that portion of the budget. He said the board, however, would be addressing that very issue at their May 25 meeting.
"Next week's agenda will include how we're now going to comply with the budget committee's budget," said Nickerson.
Pam Papera and her husband, Wayne, also spoke to the board on the topic, and Pam — an employee of the transfer station whose job is likely to be targeted in any cuts — became somewhat emotional in her statement. She said that without the income from her part-time job, she would be incapable of continuing with her modest lifestyle.
Papera said her home consists of only the simple basics in life, and her car is a 1988 model that she hopes will last longer.
"Losing this job is a major, major fear at my age. I'd have to be seeing (town Welfare Officer Melanie Van Tassel), and I don't want to have to do that," she said.
Giunta agreed that although the topic was lost amid other issues at Town Meeting, it was not due to lack of support by the board.
"Keep in mind, we (the selectmen) added it into our budget, but it's up to us to work it out now," he said.
Resident Wayne Lescaut asked whether selectmen, at previous meetings and public hearings, had promised to bring the subject up before voters. Nickerson said members of the board had only stated they would leave the final decision up to voters at Town Meeting, where it could then be brought up by the public for discussion and a possible amendment.
"We were hoping it would come up as to whether the town wanted to go with single stream recycling now or wait until the Penacook facility is open. We were prepared to discuss it, but it never came up," he said.
With single-stream recycling, some positions may no longer be necessary, as sorting duties would be eliminated.
Nickerson said selectmen would now have to reconcile their budget with that of the budget committee and make some more "tough decisions." They would re-examine the new budget and see if any adjustments could be made to operate under the money they have been allotted.
"We know how you all feel, and we'll do what we have to do, but I don't know what that outcome will be tonight," Nickerson said last week.
While further discussions on the matter were slated to take place this past Wednesday, decisions made at that meeting were not available by the time this paper went to press.