SANDOWN – This coming Saturday, Feb. 1, residents have the chance to head to Town Hall to spend a few hours listening to their neighbors and elected leaders discuss where their tax dollars will be spent in the coming year.
The deliberative session is open to all registered voters, and while attendance hasn’t been great in recent years, each year leaders and civic-minded residents urge everyone to come out not only to listen but also to have their voices heard and potentially amend various warrant articles.
The meeting starts at 8 a.m. The length depends on the kinds of discussions that residents enter into, and while in the past it has run well past mid afternoon, it has also on occasion wrapped up prior to noon.
The budget and 19 other warrant articles will be considered. Some are big-ticket items that give the chance for voters to start construction on a new police station this year or continue to save for fire department vehicles, and others are housekeeping issues that are expected to move on quickly.
The first article is to elect officers, which will take place during the secret ballot vote on March 11.
The budget, article 2, to be considered this year totals $3,455,723, slightly over the 2013 budget of $3,417,186.
The default budget stands at $3,445,641.
Next on the warrant will be the consideration of two articles dealing with the potential for the town to build a new police station. It’s an important matter and selectmen decided, on the urging of police chief Joe Gordon, to put them front and center.
Article 3 will ask the town to raise $871,036 to purchase the existing building at 460 Main St., to renovate it into a police station. Article 4 will ask to build a police station from the ground up, at a higher cost of $1,030,969.
The town has already saved $745,163 for the station, a sum that will offset either of the above numbers.
The fifth article asks for approval of the highway block grant.
Article 6 asks that $25,567 be moved from the general fund, or unassigned fund balance, to the Road Improvement Capital Reserve Fund.
Article 7 seeks another installment for annual roadwork of $215,000.
Article 8 asks for $100,000 to be added to the Fire Equipment and Apparatus Capital Reserve Fund, established last year to help the fire department save for replacements to its aging fleet. There was some talk during the public budget hearing of lowering this sum at deliberative.
Article 9 is a petition warrant article to pull revenues away from the conservation commission from land taken out of current use status.
Article 10 asks for $6,000 for Old Home Days.
Article 11 would set up a capital reserve fund to plan for the next revaluation. It seeks to add $5,000 to this fund.
Article 12 would move $16,570 from the general fund to the Town Disaster Management Expendable Trust Fund, the sum coming from federal reimbursement money.
Article 13 would rescind an article adopted in 1998 that gave the selectmen authority to prohibit horses, cattle, sheep, swine, geese, goats and poultry from running around town. The 1998 article cited an incorrect state law in its adoption.
Article 14 asks that $25,000 be raised to repair and repave the existing town hall parking lot as well as expand it.
Article 15 seeks $12,500 for improvements to the Train Depot Historic Museum. While at the public budget hearing, historical society president Bruce Robinson spoke against this article, saying the historical society didn’t want it and implying the selectmen had overstepped their bounds, the selectmen pointed out that the town owns and is responsible for the building, not the society.
Article 16 would set up a capital reserve fund to prepare for two impending bridge repair projects, on the Fremont Road bridge and the Phillips Road bridge. It asks for $150,000.
Article 17 would seek $25,500 for mosquito control and surveillance.
Article 18 looks to amend the town’s house numbering ordinance.
Article 19 is a petition warrant article to change the elderly exemption amounts. The effort, spearheaded by Ralph Millard, has become an annual petition.
Article 20 is a non-binding article that seeks to poll residents on whether they’d like to see the dates of Old Home Days moved.
The articles finalized on Saturday will face voters at secret ballot voting March 11.