Town, School Deliberative Sessions Arrive This Weekend

Both the Town and School District Deliberative Sessions take place this week.

The School District’s Deliberative Session will be held Friday, Feb. 6, at 7 p.m. in the high school cafeteria, and the Town’s Deliberative Session is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 7, at 9 a.m.

Residents will not be able to register to vote at the Deliberative Sessions.

Residents may propose and vote on revisions to the articles at the Deliberative Sessions.

Articles on the School District warrant to be considered are:

Article 2, to raise and appropriate $67.5 million as the District’s operating budget, which represents a $12.59 per thousand impact on the tax rate. The budget includes a reduction of 49.5 hours of daily instructional assistant hours, totaling $115,000 in savings, to address declining enrollment and downshifted costs from the State.

Article 3, the teachers’ contract for $1.1 million, with a tax impact of $.32 per thousand.

Article 4, the Allied Health Professionals contract for $85,321, with a tax impact of $.02 per thousand.

Article 5, a special meeting, should either the teachers’ or health professionals’ contract fail.

Article 6, the School Lunch Program and Federal Fund Projects, with no tax impact, as the funds are self-supporting through local, state and federal revenue sources.

Article 7, an allocation of $400,000 to the School Buildings Maintenance Expendable Trust Fund, which results in a tax rate impact of $.11 per thousand.

Article 8, an allocation of $100,000, to the Equipment Capital Reserve Fund, which would result in no impact on the tax rate.

Article 9, to raise and appropriate $500,000 for architecture and engineering costs for a community auditorium, which would result in a tax impact of $.14 per thousand.

Article 10, to raise $8,069 for Co-curricular and Athletic Stipends, which would result in a tax impact of $.002 per thousand.

Article 11, a citizen petition to raise and appropriate $451,552 to adopt a policy to create clarity with regard to establishing bus stops for elementary school students. The School Board voted against supporting the article. The dollar amount proposed for the warrant article was calculated by Business Administrator Peter Curro, who said the District would need to purchase eight additional buses, as well as software to implement the policy.

Article 1 is the election of officers.

Articles on the 2015 Town Warrant include:

Article 2, to raise $100,000 for the Maintenance Trust Fund to support repairs and maintenance to town facilities. The article has no tax impact. The Town Council and Budget Committee recommend the article.

Article 3, to raise and appropriate $28.57 million as the Town’s operating budget. The Town’s default budget is $28.59 million, the same as last year. If passed, the article would result in a tax rate impact of $4.80 per thousand. The Town Council voted 4-1 to support the budget and the Budget Committee voted unanimously in favor. Councilor Joe Green voted against the budget.

Article 4, to raise and appropriate $491,523 to fund the Special Revenue Account, which would cover Police Outside Details and would have no tax impact as the services are funded through user fees. The Town Council and Budget Committee recommend the article.

Article 5, to raise and appropriate $2.6 million to fund the Sewer Fund, which would defray the cost of construction, payment of interest on any debt incurred, management, maintenance, operation and repair of constructed sewer systems. The article would result in no impact to the tax rate as it is funded through user fees. The Town Council and Budget Committee recommend the article.

Article 6, to raise and appropriate $50,000 for Fire Department Equipment. The allocation from the Town’s June 30 Fund Balance would be used to purchase three mechanical CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) devices for the Town’s life support ambulances. The Town Council and Budget Committee recommend the article.

Article 7, to raise and appropriate $500,000 for the Town’s Roadway Maintenance Trust Fund for the maintenance, replacement, removal or improvement of the Town’s roadways; and to authorize the use of $250,000 of the June 30 Fund Balance toward the appropriation. The article would result in a tax rate impact of $.07 per thousand and was recommended by the Town Council and the Budget Committee.

Article 8, to raise and appropriate $120,000 to update and rewrite the Zoning Ordinance in accordance with the recommendations of the Town’s recent Zoning Audit. The article would have no tax impact and is recommended by the Town Council and Budget Committee.

Article 9, to establish and fund with an appropriation of $28,000 a new GIS (Geographic Information System) Capital Reserve to develop, maintain, enhance or acquire data, software and/or hardware resources to be used by or integrated with the Town’s GIS program and to appoint the Town Council as agents to expend the reserve. The article would have no tax impact and is recommended by the Town Council and the Budget Committee.

Article 10, to appropriate $295,000 to the Capital Reserve Funds to expand cemeteries, and to replace highway heavy equipment, fire equipment and highway trucks. The article would authorize the Town to use June 30 Fund Balance toward the appropriation and would have no tax impact. The Town Council and Budget Committee recommend the article.

Article 11, to raise and appropriate $105,000 to hire one or more additional full- or part-time police officers to fulfill the functions of school resource officer. The article results in a tax rate impact of $.03 per thousand and is recommended by the Town Council and the Budget Committee.

Article 12, to Discontinue the Ambulance Capital Reserve Fund, created in 1996. The funds in the account would be transferred to the Town’s General Fund. The article results in no tax rate impact and is recommended by the Town Council and the Budget Committee.

Article 13, to authorize the Conservation Commission to purchase as a conservation easement a 26.3-acre property on Kimball Road owned by Leah Doyle for $395,000. The appraised value of the proposed conservation easement is $640,000. The article would result in no tax impact. The Town Council voted 3-2 to recommend the article and the Budget Committee voted 5-2 to recommend the purchase.

The property is expected to decrease in value to around $118,000 once purchased as a conservation easement. Councilors Tom Freda and Joe Green voted against the article, as did Budget Committee members Dana Coons and Bill Mead.

Article 14, to raise and appropriate $400,000 to add four additional firefighters/paramedics to the Fire Department. The Town Council voted 2-2-1 on the article, and the Budget committee supported the article with a 6-1 vote. Town Councilors Joe Green and Tom Freda voted against recommending the article, which would have a tax rate impact of $.11 per thousand, saying the department must first address overtime costs. Budget Committee member Dana Coons also voted against the article. Councilor Jim Butler recused himself from the vote as he has a family member who stands to gain financially from the appropriation.

Town Manager Kevin Smith said if the article passed, the Town would only be obligated to raise the $400,000, and the appropriation would become a part of the default budget.

Articles 15 through 20 authorize the Town Council to call special meetings on cost items, should they fail in the election. Article 1 is election of officers.

If all articles on the Town’s 2015 Warrant pass, the Town tax rate would be $5.17 per thousand. If all articles on the School District’s 2015 Warrant pass, the School tax rate would be $15.73 per thousand.

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