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Merrimack Valley: Voters asked to consider new bargain agreement


Saturday, March 04, 2017

Hot topic: With 99.5 percent of the proposed increases in the operating budget attributed to staff salary, benefit and retirement costs, voters will also be asked to consider a new collective bargaining agreement for members of the Merrimack Valley Education Association. If approved, the additional salary and benefit increases would cost the district $262,186 in 2018-19 and $257,484 in 2019-20.

Superintendent Mark MacLean said that embedded in the agreement is a move to a consumer-driven health plan. He added that this can hopefully control future health costs.

Budget: The proposed operating budget is $38.8 million, up $761,719, or 1.93 percent, from last year.

If approved in conjunction with all other warrant articles, the tax rate will go up 60 cents per $1,000 assessed property value in Boscawen, 52 cents per $1,000 assessed property value in Loudon, 88 cents per $1,000 assessed property value in Penacook, 37 cents per $1,000 assessed property value in Salisbury and 18 cents per $1,000 assessed property value in Webster. This ranges between $36 and $176 on a $200,000 home.

Noteworthy articles: Louise Andrus of Salisbury petitioned two articles onto the warrant last year – one to form a budget committee, and one to move the annual meeting from a weekday night to a Saturday – and both were defeated. Both articles, once again, are on the 2017 warrant. Another article asks voters to approve $120,000 to be put into an expendable trust fund for maintaining school buildings and grounds.

Contested races: Louise Andrus is challenging Loudon resident Kristen Byron for the at-large seat. It will be vacated by Jim Lavery of Penacook.

When and where: The town meeting will be held March 9 at 7 p.m. at Merrimack Valley High School. Ballot voting will also take place on March 9, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the high school.

Elodie Reed