Short Deliberative Session Reduces Warrant Article Totals

February 7, 2014

Staff Photo by S. Aaron Shamshoyan Teague Drive Bridge over the Spicket River sits covered in snow after it was deemed unsafe for travel and closed last year. If passed, article eight would fund the reconstruction of this bridge along with two others.

by S. Aaron Shamshoyan

In a meeting lasting less than two hours, voters and selectmen were able to slash over $450,000 from the total of all warrant articles slated for the March ballot.

While the deliberative session last Saturday was short, about 100 voters were in attendance as selectmen offered amendments to warrant articles.

Warrant Article Eight; a bridge reconstruction bond to rebuild the Shannon Road Bridge over Providence Hill Brook, Teague Drive Bridge over the Spicket River and Cove Road Extension over Arlington Pond was reduced by $234,976 from its original $1,653,000 price tag.

Favorable bids helped make the reduction possible to repair the bridges.  Currently, the Shannon Road Bridge is weight restricted, Cove Road has been supplemented by the Department of Public Works with steel plates and the Teague Drive Bridge is closed.

Warrant Article Nine was reduced by $557,000 to $825,000.  Calling for water improvements on North Policy Street, Selectmen Chairman Everett McBride said the project would replace 4,400 feet of the 78-year-old waterline; a redesign has reduced the new pipe length to only 3,000 feet.

McBride said the 12-inch pipe was the only feed line to the town’s water tanks.  It is connected on both ends to a 16-inch pipe creating a hydraulic constriction.  They hope to replace the pipe in 2014, allowing time for the ground to settle before a planned mill and overlay in 2015.

$325,000 was added to Article 10, improvements in discharge management at the water treatment plant, to install a second holding tank for clarifier flushes, allowing the town to recover 80 percent of the water used and reducing annual payments to the Greater Lawrence Sanitary District by nearly $73,000.  The amendment increased the project total to $1,075,000 to reflect actual bids.

$10,000 was added to a proposed $40,000 article for the Kelley Library Employment Separation Trust Fund as it is anticipated to be needed due to staff changes.

But two citizens’ petitions with no dollar amount sparked the greatest debate of the morning.

The first one, Article 19, seeks for the town to urge the New Hampshire State Legislature to join Get Big Money Out of Politics, which monitors election spending and campaign contributions.

Outgoing Planning Board Chairman Robert Campbell said the group couldn’t be tracked and was unsure who was benefiting from it.  “It has absolutely no effect,” he said.  “It’s a waste of our time and paper.”

The second highly debated article was Article 25, calling for temporary signs to be allowed on town property and town right-of-ways for non-profits and local organizations hosting events.  Article 25 saw scrutiny by selectmen.

McBride said the non-bonding article would not be used.  “If this passes, we’re not going to support it,” he said.  A zoning article will be on the ballot addressing the issue, he added.

During the meeting, McBride presented Robert Campbell with a plaque for over 20 years of service as a selectman and planning board member.  Campbell announced this year he will not seek re-election.

Voters will see the amended articles along with others at the March 11 election.