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Loudon approves more than $550,000 in capital reserve money

  • Lacie Sleeper, 10, of Girl Scout Troop 10955 pass out flyers after the Loudon meeting where they also gave a presentation about recycling at Loudon Elementary School on Saturday, March 15, 2014.<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

    Lacie Sleeper, 10, of Girl Scout Troop 10955 pass out flyers after the Loudon meeting where they also gave a presentation about recycling at Loudon Elementary School on Saturday, March 15, 2014.

    (JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

  • Natalie Nolin, 11, left, and Rebecca Latham, 10, of Girl Scout Troop 10454 sell cookies outside the Loudon town meeting at Loudon Elementary School on Saturday, March 15, 2014.<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

    Natalie Nolin, 11, left, and Rebecca Latham, 10, of Girl Scout Troop 10454 sell cookies outside the Loudon town meeting at Loudon Elementary School on Saturday, March 15, 2014.

    (JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

  • Eileen Cummings, ballot clerk, and Charlene Morin, ballot clerk, sit near the back of the gym as Loudon residents met at Loudon Elementary School on Saturday, March 15, 2014, for their town meeting.<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

    Eileen Cummings, ballot clerk, and Charlene Morin, ballot clerk, sit near the back of the gym as Loudon residents met at Loudon Elementary School on Saturday, March 15, 2014, for their town meeting.

    (JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

  • Trudy Mott-Smith gives a presentation in opposition to a possible pipeline carrying tar sands in New Hampshire during the Loudon town meeting at Loudon Elementary School on Saturday, March 15, 2014.<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

    Trudy Mott-Smith gives a presentation in opposition to a possible pipeline carrying tar sands in New Hampshire during the Loudon town meeting at Loudon Elementary School on Saturday, March 15, 2014.

    (JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

  • Loudon residents met at Loudon Elementary School on Saturday, March 15, 2014, for their town meeting.<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

    Loudon residents met at Loudon Elementary School on Saturday, March 15, 2014, for their town meeting.

    (JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

  • Preston Lawrance, of Loudon, poses questions to selectmen during the town meeting at Loudon Elementary School on Saturday, March 15, 2014.<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

    Preston Lawrance, of Loudon, poses questions to selectmen during the town meeting at Loudon Elementary School on Saturday, March 15, 2014.

    (JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

  • Carol Hall, of Loudon, listens during the Loudon town meeting at Loudon Elementary School on Saturday, March 15, 2014.<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

    Carol Hall, of Loudon, listens during the Loudon town meeting at Loudon Elementary School on Saturday, March 15, 2014.

    (JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

  • Lacie Sleeper, 10, of Girl Scout Troop 10955 pass out flyers after the Loudon meeting where they also gave a presentation about recycling at Loudon Elementary School on Saturday, March 15, 2014.<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)
  • Natalie Nolin, 11, left, and Rebecca Latham, 10, of Girl Scout Troop 10454 sell cookies outside the Loudon town meeting at Loudon Elementary School on Saturday, March 15, 2014.<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)
  • Eileen Cummings, ballot clerk, and Charlene Morin, ballot clerk, sit near the back of the gym as Loudon residents met at Loudon Elementary School on Saturday, March 15, 2014, for their town meeting.<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)
  • Trudy Mott-Smith gives a presentation in opposition to a possible pipeline carrying tar sands in New Hampshire during the Loudon town meeting at Loudon Elementary School on Saturday, March 15, 2014.<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)
  • Loudon residents met at Loudon Elementary School on Saturday, March 15, 2014, for their town meeting.<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)
  • Preston Lawrance, of Loudon, poses questions to selectmen during the town meeting at Loudon Elementary School on Saturday, March 15, 2014.<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)
  • Carol Hall, of Loudon, listens during the Loudon town meeting at Loudon Elementary School on Saturday, March 15, 2014.<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

Pay now, save later, the selectmen promised.

With almost no challenge to town spending at yesterday’s annual meeting, Loudon voters agreed to set aside more than $550,000 for future projects and payments.

Residents will add that cost to their tax bills this year to the tune of an extra $1.05 per $1,000 of assessed property value. But the board told taxpayers they would see a long-term benefit to padding expendable trust funds and capital reserves now, and voters approved the money without comment or question.

“I always get up here and preach how thankful we are to have these capital reserves because it puts money in the bank,” Selectman Dustin Bowles said. “So when we have major expenses, we don’t have to ask folks for more money.”

The town is getting closer to cashing in on one of those capital reserve funds – an account that will pay for a new town hall, which will be built where the American Legion post on South Village Road used to be. With an additional $100,000 approved yesterday, selectmen Chairman Bob Krieger said the town has squirreled away nearly $900,000 for that project.

“Our plan . . . is to start a building committee and start pushing this thing forward,” Krieger told 166 voters.

The goal is to build a new office by spending only out of that fund, he said.

“We really don’t want to get a bond on the building if we don’t have to,” he said.

Voters approved a total of $461,500 for capital reserve funds, including one for road improvements and $60,000 for several expendable trust funds. They also approved $30,000 for a new capital reserve fund for fire department air packs, which Chief Rick Wright said will need to be replaced in seven years.

Only a handful of voters questioned the $4.14 million budget during yesterday’s meeting, which lasted less than an hour and a half.

“We’ve kept our budget pretty stable the last four or five years,” Selectman Steven Ives said. “We finally had to loosen our pocketbooks a little bit.”

Part of the total 3.9 percent increase this year is a nearly $70,000 increase in the money allocated for legal expenses.

The town is involved in a legal dispute with the owners of the New Hampshire Motor Speedway over the assessed value of that property, the selectmen explained.

“Our attorney suggested we put this money away just in case this ends up going to court,” Ives said.

The budget could add 15 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value to the town’s portion of the tax rate, Krieger said.

All the warrant articles approved yesterday would tack on an additional $1.34 per $1,000. Based on those estimates, the town’s piece of the property tax rate would jump to $5.80 per $1,000.

The overall rate in Loudon in 2013 was $20.71 per $1,000.

But the major points of discussion yesterday were the warrant articles that wouldn’t change the tax rate. Resident Trudy Mott-Smith, 79, took the floor for discussion about the Portland-Montreal Pipeline, which travels through the northern part of New Hampshire. The pipeline currently carries crude oil from South Portland, Maine, to Montreal, but its owners have considered reversing the flow of the pipeline to bring tar sands oil to ports in Maine.

Mott-Smith asked the town to send a resolution against that idea to the governor, state representatives, New Hampshire’s congressional delegation and President Obama.

“It’s about keeping New Hampshire’s environment free of toxic chemicals, the wildlife healthy, the people healthy and the businesses healthy,” she said.

But the pipeline is far from Loudon, and the measure was defeated in a 68-60 vote.

“I don’t believe this is a town issue,” resident Alice Tuson said.

Voters also approved two warrant articles to increase the tax exemptions for elderly and disabled residents. Krieger said the board wanted to bring Loudon closer to par with exemptions offered in other communities.

“We just want to take care of our people in town,” Krieger said.

(Megan Doyle can be reached at 369-3321 or mdoyle@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @megan_e_doyle.)

Legacy Comments2

The New Hampshire Motor Speedway is way under valued for tax purposes and has been for some years. Of course Burton Smith is going to fight this, and he has deep rich pockets. Bob Bahre did far more for this town than Burton Smith will ever do. Yes, Smith has spruced up the track in many ways but he has also done as he wanted and ask forgiveness later. The large sign at the entrance: build it now and ask forgiveness later. Before that sign Loudon had an ordinance against signs that change ever few seconds. The selectmen argued for an hour about what constitutes a changing sign. Is that it changes every 5 seconds or every 2 seconds? Really? In the end 5 seconds was ok. Well, take a look at the sign and it changes every 2 seconds. How about all the trees that were cut along Rt 106 in front of the grand stands. Again, cut now and ask forgiveness later. If it had been someone else they would have been required to plant new trees. It looked far better when there were more trees between the grand stands and Rt 106. We were better with Bahre as the owner. I say reassess the track and lets get more tax money out of them. Let them pay an equitable tax as we do. It may cost a bundle in court but we will get that back in one tax cycle.

another Million dollar "small building that meets our needs.”

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