Malaguti Gives State of the Town Address at Deliberative Session

By Paul Conyers

Londonderry held its 2023 Town Deliberative Session on Feb. 11 to discuss presenting awards to distinguished citizens of 2022 and the State of the Town Address.
Town Council Chair, John Farrell, opened with with a presentation of the Citizen of the Year award, given to Remi (Bill) Fortin for his leadership of the Alert Team, especially its role in helping with town elections.
According to Farrell, “running elections in today’s environment in NH is challenging, to say the least. Moving people into and out of our polls is something we get a lot of help with.” He added, “the Alert Team is integral in making sure people can park, enter the polls, and get out safely.”
The local Alert Team is comprised of volunteers, assisting the Police Department, Public Works, and Fire Department in emergency situations. He also noted that Fortin’s family has been in Londonderry since the 1940s.
Following that, the presentation of the 2023 Volunteer of the Year Award was given to Town Moderator, Jonathan Kipp, for his oversight role in voting conduct. “At the end of the day, elections are led by the person, I believe, who has the most thankless job in the community,” Farrell stated, thanking Kipp.
Town Manager, Michael Malaguti, then gave his first State of the Town Address since he took over from Kevin Smith last February.
Malaguti called his first 12 months of the job “the longest, and shortest of years,” citing a need to cut discretionary spending with concerns of a recession. The Manager reiterated his “commitment to fiscal restraint while holding ourselves and our staff to the highest standards” as Londonderry ended 2022 with a budget surplus of $1.5 million.
With the end of budget season and a slightly more optimistic economic outlook, Malaguti proposed ending the longstanding practice of leaving positions unfilled in the police department to balance the budget while covering basic maintenance to roads, emergency vehicles, and buildings.
“We have covered these necessary expenses by leaving positions unfilled in our public safety departments, mostly in the police department,” said Malaguti. “Robbing Peter to pay Paul, is the opposite of budget transparency.”
The 2023 proposed budget will cover four police patrol positions that have remained empty for years. He still expects Londonderry to retain a balanced budget.
Savings will come from a decision to take a year off from funding the Master Plan Capital Reserver, while making cuts in several areas deemed unnecessary. This will include almost $40,000 in cuts from the Cable Department.
The redevelopment will be another goal, as Malaguti touted redevelopment plans to divert part of the tax burden to businesses instead of residents. He also announced plans to secure $4 million from Concord to expand sewer lines in south Londonderry.
Malaguti also promised to make tough decisions, even those that would inevitably make some people unhappy, promising to make decisions in the best interest of everyone.
“The state of the town is strong, and the future of Londonderry is bright.” The town budget still requires final approval from voters.

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