Londonderry Voters Approve Town Warrant
All of the town's proposed warrant articles were moved on to the March ballot at Monday night's town deliberative session.
Londonderry voters moved each of the town’s proposed warrant articles to the March 12 ballot, amending only Article 13, to appropriate funds for a zoning ordinance audit.
Voters moved the town’s $27.5 million operating budget to the ballot, which would result in a tax rate impact of $4.74 in Fiscal Year 2014. If the budget does not pass in the March election, the town’s default budget is $27.6 million, more than the town’s proposed budget.
The Budget Committee recommended the approved budget with a 6-0 vote and the Town Council recommended it with a 5-0 vote.
As amended during the deliberative session, Article 13 authorizes the town to appropriate $20,000 from fund balance for the zoning ordinance audit.
Opinions were divided as to whether or not the town should support funding the audit, with the Budget Committee voting against recommending the article as the town considers several options for filling or replacing the community development director position.
“Some members [of the Budget Committee] feel this is premature until they determine what to do with that department,” said Member Chris Melcher.
State Rep. Lisa Whittemore argued the funding request is not unreasonable and “will prepare Londonderry for the next wave of development.”
“Think about this for the Londonderry we will be seeing in the next 10 years,” she said. “This is a modest amount of money and it will prove to anyone reading grant applications that Londonderry is a community serious about planning for its future.”
Also rousing a great deal of discussion was Article 8, to raise and appropriate $101,000 for an additional School Resource Officer.
Residents expressed a preference for hiring one or two part-time officers, rather than a full-time officer, whose benefits would cost the town significantly more long-term.
Ultimately, voters moved the article to the ballot without amendment. If the article passes in March, the police chief would decide whether the $101,000 will be used to hire one full-time officer or part-time officers.
Police Chief William Hart said at the Monday evening deliberative session, “the single most effective use of tax dollars is hiring a single, full-time officer.”
Superintendent Nate Greenberg and School Board Vice Chair Nancy Hendricks spoke in strong favor of Article 8.
“It’s hard to overlook the tragedy in this country that brought the safety issue to light,” Hendricks said. “I, for one, was saddened to see School Resource Officers removed years ago, and I’m pleased to see this on our warrant this year.”
A description of each warrant article is available on the town website at wwwlondonderrynh.org and the entire warrant is also attached to this article as a PDF.
On March 12, voters will elect town officers and act upon the proposed budget and warrant articles, as amended in deliberative session.