Weare discusses budget, police during deliberative session

  • Weare residents vote during the 2018 deliberative session. Caitlin Andrews—Monitor staff

  • Richard Butt speaks while Weare selectman Jack Meany (background) listens during Weare's 2018 deliberative session. Caitlin Andrews—Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Sunday, February 11, 2018

A $6 million proposed operating budget and several other items made it through a six-hour deliberative session in Weare on Saturday morning relatively unscathed.

The budget, a 6.3 percent increase over this year’s budget, faced an amendment that would have reduced the proposed budget by to $5.8 million from resident Richard Butt, who took issue with how the town’s select board calculated the default budget.

After some debate about whether the amendment would result in a reduction in the town’s emergency services, the amendment failed with, 72-42.

One of the more contentious articles proposed would require the Finance Committee to televise its meetings live. The article faced fierce opposition from some budget committee members, who said the article was unfairly targeting their committee and could be challenged by lawsuit. Supporters felt the article would allow for greater transparency from the committee.

Finance Committee member Matt Whitlock said he wasn’t personally against residents having more access to the committee’s meetings, but was concerned that greater access could cause problems.

“Certain conversations we have would not be as frank if they were publicized widely,” he said, adding that having recordings of the committee’s meetings could lead to their words being “thrown back in our faces.”

Debate also ensued about whether the town should approve an additional police officer position. The town’s police department has been down two officers for about two years, and some residents said they would prefer to see those positions filled before adding another.

If it passes, the article would allow the staff to have 24/7 coverage with two officers on duty, Weare police Chief Sean Kelly said.

The rest of the 27-question warrant is available at weare.nh.gov.

Voting day is March 13.