Dunbarton voters made quick work of town business Saturday afternoon, passing all items except two petition warrant articles during the two-hour meeting.
One of the those articles asked residents to spend $90,000 to reconstruct and pave a section of Ordway Road, a dirt road at the southeast side of town. The second proposed the establishment of a milfoil control revolving fund to help with maintenance control of the invasive species in town ponds. However, the petitioner withdrew the article saying it is not legally valid, and that he needs to return to the drawing board.
For the second year in a row, the police department will get a new cruiser. The 2013 Chevy Tahoe up for replacement will be gifted to the fire department to use as a command vehicle. The cruiser costs $44,000 in total, although only $27,000 will be raised through taxation because $17,000 has already been set aside in the police special detail revolving fund.
Select board Chairman Brian Pike said previously that the Chevy Tahoe has “plenty of life left,” just not as a cruiser.
The first article on tap Saturday was the town’s operating budget of $2.27 million, up from last year’s approved budget of $2.16 million. After Pike gave a detailed overview of the proposal, residents held up their yellow voting cards in approval without asking any questions.
The budget includes an additional $21,000 for maintenance of government buildings. Pike said the money is essential to make sure that needed repairs occur to prevent high-cost renovations in the future.
“We kicked the can down the road since the last recession started,” he said, noting that the town can’t risk doing so any longer.
During the meeting, town officials continued to emphasize the importance of setting money aside for future projects and big purchases, including a new fire engine. Fire Chief Jonathan Wiggin told residents that the town’s main engine will reach its lifespan in 2021, and that a new truck costs between $400,000 and $500,000. In anticipation of that purchase, voters agreed to set aside $40,000 in a fire department capital reserve fund.
Voters also agreed to set aside $14,000 to help fund a future revaluation and $25,000 for the future purchase of a highway vehicle.