Although the ballots for this year’s Town and School District elections didn’t feature any contested races, the voters turned out to speak on several important issues presented on the Warrants last week.
Voters approved Article 14 to raise and appropriate $263,144 to hire four additional firefighters on a staggered schedule throughout the year, increasing daily staffing levels from nine to 10 firefighters on a 24-hour basis; but voted down Article 9 on the school side to fund up to $500,000 the costs of architectural and engineering professional services for construction of a community auditorium at the high school.
Article 14 passed with a large margin of 800 votes – 1,866 votes were cast in favor of hiring additional firefighters and 735 against; while the question of funding costs associated with the auditorium was a tighter race, with 1,791 votes against Article 9 and 1,264 votes in favor.
All incumbent candidates were re-elected in uncontested races; and with no volunteers having run for Trust Fund Trustee, the Town is in the process of filling the two open positions with write-in candidates.
The top vote-getter for the position was Ted Combes, who received three write-in votes. But Combes could not accept the position because he serves on the Budget Committee, and the Town Charter says no one may serve in more than one elected position, according to Town Clerk Sherry Farrell.
The Town is contacting five other candidates, each of whom received two write-in votes, to determine if they are interested in volunteering to fill the positions.
The top five vote-getters after Combes were Donna Andricho, John Mclaughin, Howard Bookman, James Hoolie (as it was spelled), and Robert Mahoney.
Farrell said Bookman accepted one of the positions, and she is waiting to hear back from another candidate.
All other warrant articles on the Town and School District ballots passed, including both the Town and School District’s operating budgets.
Town Councilor Jim Butler was re-elected with 2.252 votes, as were School Board members Leitha Reilly and Steve Young, with 1,945 and 2,131 votes respectively.
James Hooley and Gary Vermillion were elected to the Budget Committee with 2,112 and 2,139 votes respectively, Sherry Farrell as Town Clerk with 2,190 votes, and Carol Introne with 2,024 votes and Betsy McKinney with 2,059 votes as Leach Library Trustees.
At the polls, informational booths outside the polling location in the high school gym sparked controversy, prompting an investigation by the Attorney General’s office, after the Londonderry Times went to print on March 10.
“I think they were wrong. They shouldn’t have been allowed to be there,” Town Councilor Tom Freda said of fire officials who were manning an information booth in the lobby of the high school gymnasium during the election. “I saw a letter from the Attorney General’s Office and they said they could do it. I’m not sure the Attorney General will continue the position in that letter.”
Town Manager Kevin Smith confirmed that a representative from the Attorney General’s Office was at the Town’s polling location on Election Day, but said he’s not sure if that office will issue an opinion on complaints that were filed.
“That’s up to the attorneys,” said Paul Brodeur of the Attorney General’s Office, who visited the polls on Election Day.
Brodeur couldn’t comment on his visit, which he said was prompted by a call to his office.
“It wasn’t multiple complaints, it was one call,” he said.
Despite the lack of contested races, the Town saw good voter turnout, with about 18 percent of registered voters participating in the Election.
For a community Londonderry’s size and considering there weren’t any contested races, which are what usually bring people to the polls, it was a good turnout, Deputy Town Clerk Kathleen Donnelly said. But it could certainly be better.
Detailed results follow:
Town Article 2, Expendable Maintenance Trust Fund, to raise $100,000 for the Maintenance Trust Fund to support repairs and maintenance to town facilities. 2,559 to 430; passed.
Town Article 3, Fiscal Year 2016 Operating Budget, to raise and appropriate $28.5 million for the Town’s operating expenses for FY2016. 2,029 to 917; passed.
Town Article 4, Fund Special Revenue Account, to raise and appropriate $491,523 from the Police Outside Detail Fund to cover Police Outside Details. 2,324 to 634, passed.
Town Article 5, to raise and appropriate $2.6 million to fund the Sewer Fund. 2,370 to 563, passed.
Town Article 6, to raise and appropriate $50,000 for Fire Department equipment. 2,650 to 344, passed.
Town Article 7, to raise and appropriate $500,000 for the Town’s Roadway Maintenance Trust Fund and to authorize the use of $250,000 of the June 30 Fund Balance toward the appropriation. 2,248 to 716, passed.
Town Article 8, to raise and appropriate $120,000 to update and rewrite the Zoning Ordinance. 2,210 to 706, passed.
Town Article 9, to establish and fund with an appropriation of $28,000 a New GIS Capital Reserve Fund. 2,242 to 683, passed.
Town Article 10, to appropriate $295,000 to the Capital Reserve Funds to expand cemeteries, and to replace highway heavy equipment, fire equipment and highway trucks. 2,491 to 470, passed.
Town Article 11, To raise and appropriate $105,000 to hire one or more additional full- or part-time police officers to fulfill the functions of school resource officer. 1,696 to 1,284, passed.
Town Article 12, to discontinue the Ambulance Capital Reserve Fund. 2,439 to 490, passed.
Town Article 13, To authorize the Conservation Commission to purchase a 26-acre easement on Kimball Road. 2,153 to 780, passed.
Town Article 14, citizen’s petition to hire four additional firefighters. 1,866 to 1,078, passed.
Town Article 15, authorization for special meeting on cost items. 2,112 to 735, passed.
Town Article 16, authorization for special meeting on cost items. 2,070 to 760, passed.
Town Article 17, authorization for special meeting on cost items. 2,063 to 754, passed.
Town Article 18, authorization for special meeting on cost items. 2,063 to 755, passed.
Town Article 19, authorization for special meeting on cost items. 2,058 to 761, passed.
School Article 2, General Fund Operating Budget, To raise and appropriate $67,764,153 as an operating budget for the 2015-2016 school year. 2,285 to 635, passed.
School Article 3, Londonderry Education Association (LEA) Bargaining Agreement. 2,011 to 956, passed.
School Article 4, Londonderry Association of Allied Health Professionals (LAAHP) Bargaining Agreement. 2,056 to 867, passed.
School Article 5, authorization for Special Meeting on cost items. 2,055 to 828, passed.
School Article 6, School Lunch Program and Federal Fund Projects. 2,526 to 421, passed.
School Article 7, Special Article (School Buildings Maintenance Expendable Trust Fund). 2,071 to 861, passed.
Article 8, Special Article – Equipment Capital Reserve Fund. 2,257 to 675, passed.
School Article 9, Auditorium Architectural and Engineering Costs, raise and appropriate $500,000. 1,264 to 1,791, failed.
School Article 10, co-curricular and athletic stipends. 2,214 to 803, passed.
School Article 11, citizen’s petition on busing. 923 to 1,966, failed.