Salisbury budget passes quickly

Last modified: 3/9/2011 12:00:00 AM
Salisbury zipped through its warrant last night in what Moderator John Herbert said may have been a record - 25 minutes from gavel to gavel, with residents approving a $1.03 million budget and other town spending with little debate and no rancor.

There was little on the warrant to incite controversy. The only extended discussion came on an item to spend $57,350 on a five-year, lease-purchase agreement for 10 new Scott Air-Pak breathing apparatus units for firefighters, and it passed on a voice vote with no opposition.

Fire Chief Rick Gilman said the department's current breathing gear is out of date at 14 years old, and only seven of the 10 are still in use. Without the gear, he said, firefighters can't safely enter burning buildings.

"This is the newest technology, but it's the bare-bones technology," he said.

The nearly 100 Salisbury residents at last night's meeting, held in the town hall under a portrait of Daniel Webster, also approved placing $7,400 in the reassessment capital reserve fund and $5,000 into the buildings and grounds fund.

Among other actions, voters okayed creating a new forest fire trust fund, with a $5,000 initial deposit, and the board of library trustees was expanded from three to five members.

The proposed town operating budget was essentially flat from last year's, and Ken Ross-Raymond, chairman of the selectmen, amended it to slice out $11,500, which had been included in case the money for the new Air-Paks was voted down.

The amended budget of nearly $1.03 million, $10,200 less than last year's budget, passed without dissent.

"Wow," Herbert said after the budget passed, 20 minutes into the meeting. After various announcements and thank-yous, the meeting came to a close five minutes later with a prayer (written by George Washington) and the Pledge of Allegiance.

Last year's town meeting lasted 40 minutes, gavel to gavel. Did this year set a new record?

"Yeah, I think so," Herbert said after the meeting. "Must be."

(Ben Leubsdorf can be reached at 369-3307 or bleubsdorf@cmonitor.com.)




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