Budgets fail to pass in Weare, but Henniker voters say OK to school spending

  • Henniker Town Hall on Friday, Jan. 27, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz

By Monitor staff
Published: 3/11/2020 5:40:13 PM
Modified: 3/11/2020 5:40:02 PM

Voters in Henniker had to consider the benefit of solar energy along with historic preservation during voting Tuesday.

On the school ballot, voters approved a 15-year lease to purchase and install roof-mounted solar panels on school buildings. The expected expense of $294,851 was approved by a vote of 452 to 418.

On the town side, voters passed a requirement that ground-mounted solar arrays get a conditional use permit from the planning board. The change, which passed 545-305, is designed to allow solar farms in town“while maintaining Henniker’s scenic vistas.” It does not affect roof-mounted solar arrays.  

After voting Tuesday morning, Pat Brown expressed “a little concern” about the school’s solar panels for “cosmetic reasons.”

“These are nice old buildings,” she said. “I hate to see them changed too much.”

Despite her misgivings, however, “I voted for it, because I know it’s a good thing,” she said. 

John Stark School District

Voters in the John Stark School District approved the operating budget of $13.7 million. 1,283-1,181. That’s a 0.78% hike from last year, a $105,995 increase. The school district managed to keep a nearly even budget due to a 12.7% reduction in special education programs

They also created a capital reserve fund and put $467,646 into. They will be used for improvements to buildings such as include roof replacements, repaving the track, and recplaing the HVAC system to heat the school.

There were no contested race son the ballot. Angela Drake of Weare and James Newcomb of Henniker were elected to the school board. 

Weare School District

Voters rejected the $15.99 million operating budget, a 1.7% increase, by a 701-905 vote. The district will operate under a$15.73 million default budget.

They also rejected spending $75,000 for “hiring a firm to conduct a study of space and space needs in the District and the appropriate programming use of that space.”

Voters approved a proposal to use increased money from the Legislature for adequacy aid toward infrastructure improvements. This two -year temporary boost approved in the state budget last year will create a $797,110 capital reserve fund to help pay for projects such as repaving the Center Woods Elementary School parking lot and replacing carpeted areas with tile at Weare Middle School.

Weare town

In Weare town meeting, a $6.79 million operating budget was soundly defeated, 924 to 650. The default budget is $6.63 million. 

Most warrant articles passed, including a new contract for police department employees, an additional employee for the Public Works Department, an extra worker for the library, and two more full-time firefighters/EMTs. Two “pursuit vehicles” for the Police Department were rejected, as was money to fix air conditioning and some exterior work in town buildings.

A petitioned article to plan for recreational fields on Quaker Street at Route 114 was soundly rejected, 1,050 to 515.

In contested races, Ellen Meaney was elected moderator over Howard Kaloogian, while Leah Cushman edged Ricky Houde for the non-firefighter Fire Ward position, 632-621.

Henniker

Voters on the school ballot approved the  proposed $8.1 million budget and increases salaries and benefits for teachers in the district. The cost impact of the contract with the Henniker Teachers’ Association was $58,544 for one year. 

The only contested race on the town side of the ballot was for town clerk/tax collector. Kimberley Johnson defeated Helen Aucoin for the job 700-195.

The rest of the Henniker Town warrant will be voted on Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Henniker Community School. 

 




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