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Reinstating Salisbury police again on town warrant

For the second year in a row, voters in Salisbury will consider a petition warrant article to reinstate the town’s police department.

Twenty-five residents signed the petition, which asks for $64,000 to fund the department. Since its two full-time officers quit in 2010, Salisbury residents have relied on the state police for coverage.

Neither the budget committee nor the town’s selectmen support the item.

Ken Ross-Raymond, chairman of the board of selectmen, said he is aware of the petition but that no residents have approached him asking for more information about reinstating the police. “We’ve not had one citizen come to us and complain or make any request for information. Even though we received the petition, we have not had one citizen come in and get one piece of information,” Ross-Raymond said. “We think this has been working for us.”

Judy Elliott, who petitioned to get the item on the warrant, did not return messages seeking comment.

Last year, voters rejected a petition article to increase police money for personnel hires. Former selectman Gregory Slossar made the motion. Slossar said Wednesday he signed this year’s petition to support Elliott, but declined further comment.

The selectmen’s budget proposal recommends $12,000 for outside police detail, telephones and dispatch. In the current year, the town spent $4,250 of the $12,000 it had allocated for the police.

According to meeting minutes, the Salisbury police responded to an average of 54 calls per month in 2009. In 2012 and 2013, the state police responded to an average of 24 calls per month, according to records provided to the town. Ross-Raymond said the police responded to eight calls in February.

What to know: Salisbury Town Meeting

∎ The overall operating budget proposal is $1,058,818, up $732, or less than 1 percent, over the current year. The operating budget does not account for $124,900 in separate warrant articles, including $15,000 each for the fire emergency services equipment reserve fund and the rescue emergency services equipment capital reserve fund. Selectmen Chairman Ken Ross-Raymond said he expects the police money to get the most attention from voters. “There isn’t anything in the warrant that we think there will be a lot of discussion about,” he said.

∎ Contested elections: None.

∎ Voting: Tuesday, 1 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., at town hall on Old Coach Road.

∎ Town Meeting: Tuesday, 7:30 p.m., in the public library on Elm Street.

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