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Voters to hash out tax relief, mill, Northern Pass


Tuesday, February 07, 2017
BelmontBelmont Mill building’s fate goes up for debate

Hot topic: Town residents will decide whether to support the future renovation of the Belmont Mill for use as town offices and other community purposes, to demolish the mill, or to sell off the building.

“We had a member of our community come forward, Donna Hepp, and suggest that the town needs a more comprehensive plan relative to its multiple buildings, and that she was willing to try to put together a group of individuals that could potentially work on that and provide information to the selectmen regarding that,” Belmont Town Administrator Jeanne Beaudin said.

Budget: The total proposed budget is $9.8 million, up $72,226 from last year’s budget, Beaudin said.

“We have three union contracts that are being proposed; we have increased costs for health insurance and retirement costs, as well as other contractual items such as property liability insurance and workers compensation insurance,” Beaudin cited as the reasoning for the budget increase.

If approved, the tax rate will go up an estimated 33 cents per $1,000 assessed property value, which would add about $82.50 in taxes on a $250,000 home. The default operating budget is $7.56 million.

Beaudin said that no amendments were filed for Saturday’s deliberative session and all articles were moved forward for voting.

Contested races: Selectman Ronald Cormier is challenged for his three-year seat by Claude “Sonny” Patten, Richard Pickwick and Brian Watterson. There are two three-year seats on the planning board for which three people are running: Kevin Sturgeon, Peter Harris and Recardo Segalini. There is one three-year seat on the zoning board for which two people are running: Peter Harris and Norma Patten.

When and where: Ballot voting will take place between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. March 14 at Belmont High School on 255 Seavey Road.

Emily Young

DeerfieldNorthern Pass causes a stir

Hot topic: The majority of discussion at Saturday’s deliberative session was prompted by the Northern Pass project’s proposal to go through the Deerfield substation, according to Town Clerk Kevin Barry. Northern Pass is a 192-mile transmission line project touting benefits including clean energy, tax revenue and construction jobs. Opponents argue the transmission lines would destroy New Hampshire’s scenic views and wildlife habitat.

If approved, Northern Pass would pay the town between $775,000 to $1.4 million, which would reduce taxes to every property owner.

Budget: The proposed operating budget is $3.90 million, up $198,286 from last year’s budget. If approved, the tax rate will go up an estimated 35 cents per $1,000 assessed property value, which would add about $87.50 to taxes on a $250,000 home. The increase is due to higher costs of state retirement and health insurance, Barry said. The default budget is $3.92 million.

Contested races: Four candidates – John Cote, Laura Hughes, R. Andrew Robertson and Jeffrey Shute – are running for two three-year seats on the select board. Five candidates – Alden Dill, John Dubiansky, Benjamin Minerd, Philip Bilodeau and Ian Scott – are running for three three-year seats on the Municipal Budget Committee. There were no candidates who filed to run for the cemetery trustee or water commissioner.

When and where: Ballot voting will take place from 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. March 14 at Deerfield Town Hall on 10 Church St.

Emily Young

GilmantonPetition would lower taxes for elderly

Hot topic: Residents in Gilmanton will vote on whether to modify the elderly exemptions from property tax, under the provisions of RSA 72:39-b, based on assessed property value for qualified taxpayers. The petition warrant article would give low-income elderly residents more tax relief, according to its author, Felix Barlik. The select board and budget committee recommend this article.

Budget: The proposed operating budget is $3.61 million, down $34,702 from last year’s budget. If approved, the tax rate will go up an estimated 60 cents per $1,000 assessed property value, which is an additional $150 in taxes on a $250,000 home. The default budget is $3.65 million. Gilmanton Town Clerk Debra Cornett said the default budget is greater “because it contained actual contractual agreements.”

The town approved an amendment to raise the operating budget by $5,000 to a total of $3,619,691, according to Cornett on Saturday. This was the only amended article.

Contested races: None.

Noteworthy: “This was an actual record for us. We’ve never had such a short meeting before,” Cornett said. “We only had 3 percent turnout for our deliberative session. We had 90 voters out of 2,679 on our checklist.”

When and where: Ballot voting will take place from 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. March 14 at the Gilmanton Academy Building on 503 Province Road.

Emily Young

NorthwoodMilfoil takes over the discussion

Hot topic: Residents of Northwood will vote on whether the town should establish an expendable trust fund and raise $7,000 to prevent the spread of invasive aquatic species, including milfoil. Residents will also vote on whether the town should raise $10,000 to be deposited into the previously established Aquatic Invasive Species Treatment and Control Expendable Trust Fund. Both articles are recommended by the select board and the budget committee.

Northwood Town Administrator Joe Gunter said discussion for the aquatic invasive species prevention and treatment was mostly concerned with whether there was enough funding.

“The prevention fund was raised by $3,000 because some citizens felt that maybe there needed to be another program on Bow Lake,” he said. “And the treatment control was raised by $2,000 because the treatment of Northwood Lake has become more expensive.”

Budget: The proposed operating budget is $3.62 million, up $111,069 from last year’s budget. If approved, the tax rate will go up an estimated 24 cents per $1,000 assessed property value, which is an additional $60 in taxes on a $250,000 home. The default budget is $3.56 million.

Noteworthy: The town decided to raise the 250th anniversary article to $1,000 instead of $500. Another significant amendment was to an article concerning boat ramp reconstruction, which requests that the select board allow only nonmotorized boats to be used at the Mary Waldron Beach boat ramp. The select board and the budget committee had recommended the articles before they were amended.

Contested races: The only contested race is for a three-year seat as a trustee of trust funds. Two candidates are vying for the position: Lee Baldwin and James Vaillancourt.

When and where: Ballot voting will take place from 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. March 14 at the Parish Center at St. Joseph’s Church at 844 First N.H. Turnpike.

Emily Young