Not even the frozen fury of a nor’easter could stop town elections in Londonderry, as voters braved the elements to cast their ballots at the high school on March 13. Nine elected positions were up for grabs, although only two were contested. The weather made it difficult for locals to come and vote, but the turnout was not nearly as poor as Town Moderator Bob Saur thought it would be.
“Considering the snow, I thought it went very smoothly,” said Saur.
He and the Supervisors of the Checklist had originally estimated that approximately 2,500 would vote in the election, based on previous turnouts. Due to the snow, only 2010 people came, reported Town Clerk Sherry Farrell. She said “we were excited” to see that many make it to the polls. Saur agreed that “it exceeded my expectations.” The total number of votes includes the 351 absentee ballots that were submitted the day before the election.
There are a total of 18,407 registered voters in Londonderry, roughly 11 percent made it to the polls. That is a little below average, but Saur said “town elections do not attract a lot of voters.” By comparison, he said about 15,000 came out for the last presidential election.
Despite the turn out, the town managed to have a fair and eventful election. All results are from the official posting on the town website.
Jim Butler will be returning to the Town Council for another three-year term after running unopposed. He won 1,586 votes, although there were 60 write-ins and 394 abstentions.
In the race for town moderator, Tom Freda will take over for Saur after garnering 1,062 compared to his competitor, Luisa Pietta, who got 733 votes. There were two write-ins and 213 abstentions. The position is a three-year term.
Sherry Farrell will continue her duties as town clerk for another three years after winning 1,423 votes. Martha Smith won 483 votes, with four write-ins and 100 abstentions.
Kirsten Hildonen ran unopposed for her second six-year term as a supervisor of the checklist. She got 1,577 votes, with six write-ins and 427 abstentions.
Hildonen will also join Kyle Ramon Rosen on the Budget Committee for a three-year term. Both ran unopposed for the two open seats with Hildonden getting 1,370 votes and Foden receiving 1,221 votes. There were 11 write-ins and 1,296 abstentions.
Howard Bookman will serve another three-year term as a trusted of the trust fund after getting 1,515 votes. There were six write-ins and 489 abstentions.
Carole Introne and Rep. Betsy McKinney were re-elected as library trustees for another three years. Introne got 1,349 votes and McKinney got 1,104 votes. There were 11 write-ins and 1,296 abstentions.
There were a total of 23 articles up on the ballot this year. Article two asked for $6,400,000 to cover improvements to the Central Fire Station. According to the article,there would be zero tax impact for the 2019 fiscal year, but there would be a two cent impact in FY 2020 and a 13 cent impact in FY 2021, based on “projected assessed values.” The article needed 60 percent of the vote to pass, and received 1,293 votes in favor with 610 against and 107 abstaining.
The passing of article three will see $2,300,000 raised for a new town-side communications system. There is no projected tax impact for passing this article. It passed 1,499 to 456 with 55 abstentions.
Article four was arguably the most important one, since it determined the town’s operating budget for next year. The proposed amount was for $31,707,838, which is the same as the default budget. The projected tax impact for passing the budget is $4,901 for next year. It passed 1,291 to 640 with 79 abstentions.
Article five requested $505,644 to cover the police outside detail. It passed 1,543 to 401 with 66 abstentions, with no tax impact.
Article six covered providing $5,703,609 for the sewer fund. It passed 1,552 to 389 with 69 abstentions and no projected tax impact.
Article seven passed 1,544 to 390 with 76 abstentions. It asked for $220,000 to cover sewer fund administrative costs and would not create any tax impact.
The roadway maintenance fund can thank the passing of article eight right for the $650,000 that will be placed in the fund. Half of that will come from the Unassigned Fund Balance and the other half will need to be raised by the town through a .083 cent property tax increase for next year. It passed 1,446 to 500 with 64 abstentions.
The town voted to appropriate $150,000 into the Capital Reserve Fund for Fire Department Equipment and move $75,000 from the UFB to the fund by a vote of 1,442 to 542 with 49 abstentions. The tax impact is less than a cent.
Article 10 passed 1,161 to 801 with 49 abstentions to appropriate $28,000 and use $14,000 from the UFB for the Capital Reserve Fund for Geographical Information Systems. The tax impact is miniscule at less than one cent.
Article 11 was passed 1,134 to 808 with 69 abstentions to appropriate $180,000 and use $90,000 from the UFB for the Expendable Maintenance Trust Fund. Again, the tax impact is less than a cent.
Article 12 passed 1,430 to 463 with 58 abstentions to appropriate $100,000 and use $100,00 from the UFB to fund the Capital Reserve Fund for Pillsbury for a tax impact of zero.
Article 13 passed 1,491 to 463 with 57 abstentions to put $10,000 into the cemetery fund. This will not affect taxes.
Article 14 will also not have tax impact and will appropriate $70,000 and request the same amount from the UFB to go towards the fund for fire trucks. It passed 1,539 to 380 with 92 abstentions and will not any impact on taxes.
Article 15 passed 1,323 to 584 with 104 abstention to appropriate $189,900 and request the same amount from the UFB to cover the cost of building a recreation maintenance building. There will be no tax impact.
Article 16 requested $100,000 from tax payers and $100,000 from the UFB to pay for a comprehensive review of all commercial and industrial properties in town. It passed 1,431 to 460 with 120 abstentions and will have no tax impact.
Article 17 sought to raise and appropriate $35,000 for a water and air study. It passed 1,188 to 723 with 100 abstaining. That will cost taxpayers less than a cent to cover.
Article 18 was voted down 1,139 against, with only 76 in favor of continuing construction of a pathway from Pillsbury Road to Wilshire Drive. It would have cost $250,000 and was recommended by the Town Council, but not by the Budget Committee.
Comparatively, there was almost a 50/50 split on article 19 to purchase land on Sargent Road for $95,000. It will cost less than a cent and actually passed 971 to 926 with 114 abstaining.
Article 20 was passed 1,560 to 371 with 69 abstentions. It will raise $200,000 and take $200,000 from the Police Details Special Revenue Fund to cover equipping the police department vehicles with emergency communication equipment.
Article 21 sought to raise $28,000 to be added to the Town Expendable Maintenance Trust Fund from the Police Details Special Revenue Fund. It passed 1,551 to 386 with 73 abstentions.
Article 22 failed by a vote of 801 for and 1,136 against with 73 abstentions. It sought to raise and appropriate $2,000,000 for the purchase of “land, easements and other transactions that meet the mission of the Londonderry Conservation Committee,” according to the warrant. It would have raised taxes by 51 cents if it had passed. It was the only warrant article that was not recommended by either the Town Council or of the Budget Committee.
Finally, article 23 sought to replace the softball field lights at Nelson Softball Field for $130,000. The tax impact will be less than one cent and was passed 1,136 to 827 with only 47 abstentions.