The Londonderry Budget Committee decided that because Londonderry Department budgets aren’t finalized by their August meeting date it made sense to skip not only the July Budget Committee meeting but also the August Budget Committee meeting which also falls on one of the School District school tours. The committee members agreed and the next regularly scheduled meeting will be Thursday, September 22nd.
Chairman Jay Hooley told the members he had received a lengthy clarification from Attorney Michael Randall in response to the committee’s request regarding the Londonderry Budget Committee’s authority.
Ramsdell basically said that RSA 32, in its entirety, applies to Municipal Budget Committees that have been adopted by a community. In Londonderry, the Municipal Budget Committee was not adopted. What exists in Londonderry is an Advisory Budget Committee. Randall said that the powers and authorities ascribed to the Municipal Budget Committee in RSA 32 do not apply to the Advisory Budget Committee.
“Our Advisory Budget Committee is a different animal,” Hooley said.
He told the committee members that for departments wishing to make a submission to the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) the deadline is July 15, and the CIP Committee will take the submissions up at their August 8 meeting. Hooley said it will be important for liaison Greg Warner to attend that meeting and if he can’t Hooley asked he be notified.
Hooley then went over the process for calling a Special Town Meeting. Londonderry needs to call such a Special Town Meeting in order to approve the cost items in a collective bargaining agreement reached between the Town and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Council 93, LAEA – Unit B – Town Administrative Personnel.
The Special Town Meeting needs to be called specifically because the agreement requires a special enrollment period for union employees to switch to a health savings plan that will provide savings to the Town and to the union members during the term of agreement. Since the enrollment period requires implementation by January 2017, three months before the next annual Town Meeting, the Special Town Meeting will be needed.. The approval of the new collective bargaining agreement at a special town meeting will save Town taxpayers money. The petition for the special meeting was filed before May 31 requesting the Court to schedule a hearing on the petition not later than July 6th for the court to grant the special meeting be held on September 13.
There will need to be two public hearings, a deliberative session and the voting session, Hooley explained, saying this is actually quite a long and involved process but one dictated by law. The Budget Committee had asked Town Manager Kevin Smith to come and talk to them about the contract and special meeting but he declined, noting it wasn’t necessary since there would be the two public hearings and it has not yet been approved to move forward. See related story on page 1.
The committee members discussed the residential boom and its potential impact on the schools after Hooley said this had been brought up at the School Board meeting. He reviewed the residential developments that are presently being built and some that are on the horizon, such as Woodmont.
He noted that there is a calculation provided by the state that allows an estimate for the number of children that can be expected from a development based on the number of bedrooms per house being built and the School Board is looking at an estimated increase of 60 new elementary students and 31 high school and that number will increase each year over the next few years. The impact will be on the teacher-student ratio, the class size, and the number of classrooms needed. This represents a reversal of the recent reduction in student enrollment enjoyed by Londonderry School District.
Committee member Dana Coons said he questions the actual credibility of the School Board and School District numbers and concerns since it was just five or six years ago the district was looking at possibly closing a school because of declining enrollment and had made the statement they could accommodate a great many more students.
Hooley responded that he thought this was a very good question and suggested it be brought to the School Board. He did say that he knew that increases in the Special Education numbers has had an impact and that bringing much of the Special Education services in house rather than out of district has saved money but has resulted in using up a lot of space.
“But this is something we can look at,” he said.
He recommended the committee members take advantage of the school tours that will take place in August.
On August 23 they should meet at the North School at 6 p.m. and from there they will go to the Middle School and Matthew Thornton. On August 25 at 6 p.m. they should meet at the South School and from there go to Moose Hill and the High School. These tours are important because they allow committee members to see what improvements have been made, what the classroom use is, and what issues exist at each of the schools.
Police Department Keeps Residents Informed, Wants Input
Kathleen D. Bailey
The Londonderry Police are requesting residents to help be their “eyes and ears” through a new Crime Tip phone line and a Crime Tip page on the department’s Web site.
The service will start July 1, 2016.
The Crime Tip page will be located within the Police Department’s section of the town Web site, www.londonderrynh.org. Anyone can leave a crime tip or other crime information, and may remain anonymous if they desire.
The phone tip line is 432-1104.
Det. Chris Olsen said the impetus for the tip sites was that “We had an available phone line, and we wanted to put it to good use.”
The Web page and phone line are primarily for residents who see something they’re uneasy about, but may not be directly involved in.
Olsen said the department frequently receives anonymous tips and follows up on them. “I can’t tell you how many incidents we investigate that are based on anonymous tips,” he said.
Some of the things people report anonymously include break-ins, motor vehicle non-compliance, and suspicious vehicles in their neighborhoods. Drug-related activity is also a big topic and usually anonymous, according to Olsen. “People don’t want to be involved in that,” he said.
Olsen said the department is working out a few kinks and expects to have the Web page online in the near future.
Police Chief Bill Hart wrote in a press release that residents can also follow real-time events on Facebook, “Londonderry Police Department,” and Twitter, “@londonderrynhpd.”: The department routinely posts “Wanted” posters and other crime information, Hart wrote.
In addition, residents can subscribe to receive text message alerts through the department’s Nixle program. This is located on the Police Department section of the town Web site. The service is free, but standard message and data rates apply through each user’s cell phone plan, Hart advised. The program is used for community alerts such as road closures.