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Warner voters okay $129,000 for surveying, design services for Exit 9 project

  • Town moderator Ray Martin gavels the start of Warner's town meeting; Wednesday, March 13, 2013. The town quickly approved a $2.9 million budget for the year.<br/>(ALEXANDER COHN / Monitor staff)

    Town moderator Ray Martin gavels the start of Warner's town meeting; Wednesday, March 13, 2013. The town quickly approved a $2.9 million budget for the year.
    (ALEXANDER COHN / Monitor staff)

  • Warner police chief Billy Chandler (center) watches as the town approves spending $15, 000 towards the police department's vehicle capital reserve fund at the town meeting; Wednesday, March 13, 2013. <br/>(ALEXANDER COHN / Monitor staff)

    Warner police chief Billy Chandler (center) watches as the town approves spending $15, 000 towards the police department's vehicle capital reserve fund at the town meeting; Wednesday, March 13, 2013.
    (ALEXANDER COHN / Monitor staff)

  • Catherine Hyson knits a sock in the balcony of Warner town hall as the town's operating budget is discussed; Wednesday, March 13, 2013. <br/>(ALEXANDER COHN / Monitor staff)

    Catherine Hyson knits a sock in the balcony of Warner town hall as the town's operating budget is discussed; Wednesday, March 13, 2013.
    (ALEXANDER COHN / Monitor staff)

  • Catherine Hyson knits a sock in the balcony of Warner town hall as the town's operating budget is discussed; Wednesday, March 13, 2013. <br/>(ALEXANDER COHN / Monitor staff)

    Catherine Hyson knits a sock in the balcony of Warner town hall as the town's operating budget is discussed; Wednesday, March 13, 2013.
    (ALEXANDER COHN / Monitor staff)

  • Town moderator Ray Martin gavels the start of Warner's town meeting; Wednesday, March 13, 2013. The town quickly approved a $2.9 million budget for the year.<br/>(ALEXANDER COHN / Monitor staff)
  • Warner police chief Billy Chandler (center) watches as the town approves spending $15, 000 towards the police department's vehicle capital reserve fund at the town meeting; Wednesday, March 13, 2013. <br/>(ALEXANDER COHN / Monitor staff)
  • Catherine Hyson knits a sock in the balcony of Warner town hall as the town's operating budget is discussed; Wednesday, March 13, 2013. <br/>(ALEXANDER COHN / Monitor staff)
  • Catherine Hyson knits a sock in the balcony of Warner town hall as the town's operating budget is discussed; Wednesday, March 13, 2013. <br/>(ALEXANDER COHN / Monitor staff)

Warner will likely remain a town without a stoplight.

Voters at last night’s town meeting agreed to spend $129,000 on surveying and other design services for the area near Exit 9 on Interstate 89, where Route 103 passes between Market Basket and the Shell gas station. Town leaders have been mulling the plan for several years in hopes of easing traffic problems and preparing for future development in the area.

Although many meeting-goers lamented the difficulty of turning onto Route 103, not everyone agreed that the intersection needs an overhaul. Jim Hand, who has lived in Warner for about six years, says he travels near the exit every day without trouble.

“Maybe I’ve lived in too many high-population areas,” he said. “But this just doesn’t seem so dangerous that we should be going after $129,000.”

After a lengthy debate, the article passed, 94-58. Voters also informally endorsed a roundabout as opposed to an alternative design that would give Warner its first traffic light.

The total project will cost between $675,000 and $770,000, with the state paying two-thirds. Construction is expected to begin in 2015. The selectmen will have the final say on the design, but they said they plan to listen closely to the wishes of residents.

In all, voters at the meeting took more than three hours to decide 14 articles. Most items passed with little discussion as voters focused their debate on a handful of issues, including the Exit 9 intersection and a proposal from AT&T to build a cell tower in the town forest along North Road.

Voters eventually agreed to allow the selectmen to negotiate a five-year lease with the phone company, but warned the board to make sure the tower is as safe and as unobtrusive as possible. The town will make money off the lease, but selectmen won’t know how much until the contract is negotiated.

A proposal to set aside $15,000 to help offset town employees’ health insurance deductibles also met with some resistance.

“Are you kidding me?” someone shouted from the front row.

After a ballot vote, the article passed, 67-41.

Residents also approved a $2.9 million operating budget, which is 0.57 percent higher than last year’s. Despite the small budget increase, budget committee Chairman Mike Cutting warned that the tax rate will probably jump from $8.59 to $9.60 per $1,000 in property valuation. The committee, he said, worked hard during the last few years to keep taxes level, but they were running out of options.

“We’ve tried to hold it down,” he said. “But there’s only so much we can do. If you want to maintain quality of services – well, you’re going to have to make some decisions. And that’s what you’re here to do.”

Legacy Comments2

"Are you kidding me?!?!" That someone (or rather, that NOBODY) who shouted this Joe Wilson-esque taunt at the town meeting was none other than Susan Olsen, aka "Suze" from the GraniteGrok blog. Suze - a rather butch-looking old "lady" - is your typical garden variety ultra-conservative, Ayn Rand worshipping, selfish, anti-choice, anti-gay marriage, anti-conservation, anti-public education nutjob.

Great little town but suffers like many others...too many Renters,Tenants and not enough Homeowners. This allows the town Employees, Friends and Relatives to pass unrestrained budgets, as Tenants do not vote but are the cause for a disproportionate share of Welfare, crime and "handouts".

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