Amendment Would Allow Town to Conduct Civil Marriages

Noting that newly elected Town Clerk Sherry Farrell had recently became a Justice of the Peace, Town Manager Kevin Smith said the municipal code was being updated to allow charging a fee for services of a Justice of the Peace.

“This is a new ordinance that is an amendment to the Municipal Code, but it’s not actually an amendment to an existing ordinance,” Smith told the Town Council at its Monday night meeting.

Town Councilor Tom Freda asked whether the town currently provides civil marriage ceremonies.

Smith said it did not.  “We just started,” he said. “Our new Town Clerk recently received her Justice of the Peace license and has offered to perform civil marriage ceremonies as a new service in the town. So both the performance of the ceremonies is a new service and the charging of the fee for it is new as well.”

Smith said the first ceremony was performed at the Town Common last Sunday, prior to the ordinance being put in place.

“There was no fee charged for that as the ordinance was not in place, so we are putting this ordinance in place  – both establishing that we are doing these ceremonies and charging a fee for it,” Smith said.

Smith said he inquired of other towns regarding civil marriage ceremonies and the response was “limited – mostly because most other towns aren’t performing them or if they are, it’s not on a regular basis. Manchester does it pretty frequently and charges $85.”

Londonderry will be  charging $50 to offset the cost of providing the service.

A motion to adopt the civil marriage ceremony Municipal Code addition as amended passed unanimously as a first public reading.

In other business:

• Council Chairman Tom Dolan, who is a commissioner as the town’s representative with the Manchester Water District, asked if a partial rebate check totaling $24,000 had been received by the town and Smith said it had. Dolan asked if procedurally a vote was needed to accept the funds and Smith said he would check with Finance Director Sue Hickey to see if there is a cutoff amount that required a vote.

• Executive Council incumbent candidate Chris Pappas visited the Council and said he would continue to look out for the interests of Londonderry should he be re-elected.

• Auditorium Committee Chairman Tony DeFrancesco updated the Council on the work of his committee and said the auditorium as envisioned in 2006 was used “as their bible” but the 950-seat aspect of the plan was questioned as to need. They determined an 800-seat auditorium was more plausible. He said that the reduced seating cut 7,500 square feet off construction costs.

DeFrancesco said the auditorium would be adjacent to the Londonderry High School cafeteria in the low-lying area.

Council Chairman Tom Dolan asked if they considered building an auditorium to accommodate graduations. DeFrancesco said the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, where graduations are currently held, saw 4,000 people at the last year’s graduation. “I can get the figures for a 4,000-seat auditorium if you want,” DeFrancesco said.

• Police Chief William Hart introduced the recently named Officer of the year Randy Duguay and Gumshoe of the Year Sean Doyle to the Council. Civilian of the Year Mike Simpson could not attend the council meeting.

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