This year’s town election once again faced the frozen wrath of winter, but that didn’t stop voters from passing all the school district warrant articles on the ballot. Everything from the recommended budget to new bleachers at the high school will get its desired funding from taxpayers. The school board will also have its two positions filled by returning incumbent Steve Young and newcomer Michael Saucier.
Despite the terrible weather, a little over 2,000 people made it to the polls out of 18,407 registered voters, according to Town Moderator Bob Saur. That’s roughly 11 percent of all voters in Londonderry.
“For a town election, it was a little bit low,” said Saur, “but in the ballpark” of what had been estimated based on previous election. And once you take the weather into consideration, Saur said he felt the turnout “exceeded my expectations.”
There were six school articles to consider this year, with the first pertaining to electing officials to the school board.
Two men were elected to serve on the school board for a three-year term. Young will return for his sixth term after receiving 734 votes. That is second to Saucier, who won 1,026 votes. Young will bring back over a decade of service to the board, while Saucier brings experience as an educator, parent, and coach.
The budget vote was by far the most crucial decision out of the remaining articles. Voters chose the proposed operating budget as amended by a vote of 1,244 to 705, with 64 voters abstaining. The newly voted budget will cost $73,473,218 and have an estimated tax impact of $13.57, which is only 11 cents more than the default budget would have cost, according to the budget forms handed out at the school deliberative session on Feb. 9.
Article Three covered the School Lunch Program and Federal Funds Project. Voters chose 1,799 to 185 in favor, with 29 abstaining, to accept and receive federal grants and other funds to finance and support the school lunch program, as well as, raise and appropriate $2,936,000 to help pay for the program. This will have no impact on taxes for next year.
Voters approved Article Four 1,442 to 512 with 59 abstentions to raise and appropriate $625,000 for the School Buildings Maintenance Expendable Trust Fund, which will have a tax impact of 16 cents. The trust fund covers any “major one-time capital costs for district facilities including roofs, paving, boilers and small renovation projects,” according to the forms from the deliberative session.
Article Five’s Equipment Capital Reserve Fund provides money to cover “essential small equipment for classrooms, offices, technology, and buildings and grounds.” It was approved by a vote of 1,490 to 459 with 64 abstaining. The article sought to raise and appropriate $150,000 and will have a tax impact of four cents.
The final article, Article Six, deals with the lease and purchase of the new spectator bleachers for the high school. By approving the article, taxpayers will be responsible for the $300,000 needed to cover the five-year lease purchase agreement for the new bleachers. The article also sought to raise and appropriate the initial $65,000 necessary to cover the first year’s cost of the bleachers. The estimated tax impact of the article is only two cents. It was approved by a vote of 1,251 to 708 with 54 abstaining.