SANDOWN – While Sandown voters were clear in expressing their dissatisfaction with their school district on Tuesday, March 11, voting nearly every article down on the school ballot, on the town side of the things the picture was more varied.
While the operating budget was turned down for a default budget just about $10,000 less expensive, there was overwhelming support for a new police station that cost $125,873 in new dollars.
Voters changed their historic support of funding roadwork by turning down an article seeking $215,000 to maintain streets, but they supported putting $100,000 away for future fire department equipment.
An article that removes funding from the conservation commission was narrowly approved. Proponents of that article had said approval would reduce taxes, but detractors argued it would have the opposite effect.
Voters turned down the one zoning ordinance on the ballot, a housekeeping measure to bring the ordinances in line with regulations that stipulate the board of selectmen is the group that sets permit fees for driveway inspections.
For the second year in a row, voters turned down an article to set aside funds for the future state-mandated revaluation of their town. And they turned town an article that sought to set aside funding for future bridge repairs.
The turnout was a good one for Sandown, with 1,135 of 3,700 registered voters coming out. That’s about 30 percent. Thirty-four new voters registered at Election Day.
Moderator Nelson Rheaume predicted the number of voters closest to the actual turnout in an informal Tri-Town Times poll prior to the election. Rheaume missed the actual turnout by a slight margin, as he guessed 1,140. While many in the poll guessed around 700 to 800, only Rheaume and outgoing selectman chair Tom Tombarello were close. Tombarello went with 1,000.
Rheaume was pleased with his predictive powers, he said. He speculated that many new voters came out March 11, partly because of many residents’ confusion with how they should send ballots through the voting machine.
It was a good day, said Rheaume, although a long one, with poll workers getting there prior to the polls opening at 8 a.m. and not leaving until after the results were finally read at 9:15 p.m., a little over an hour after the polls closed.
Spirits were jovial as many residents waited for the results to be read and at least in the fire department’s camp, many jokes were made as Rheaume read the numbers.
Fire Chief Bill Tapley said he was quite concerned with beating out fellow fire engineer candidate Paul D’Amore in the vote count, and was pleased to have beaten his fellow firefighter with 819 votes to D’Amore’s 797. Both, regardless of the tally, were re-elected along with Dennis Giangregorio.
After it was clear that voters had approved of the construction of a new police station, some firefighters joked that they would help police chief Joe Gordon move out of the station the two departments shared the next day.
On a serious note, Tapley said he was pleased with the passage of the article saving $100,000 for future fire department vehicles and equipment. Tapley added, however, that he would have understood if voters turned the item down, as many took a hit in their tax bills this year.
“I’m happy it passed, but if it didn’t, I wouldn’t have been upset,” he said. “We’d just have to come back next year.”
While the failure of the town operating budget means little in the way of tax rates, its effects across town departments are varied. For example, the fire department’s budget will be higher under the default, but it also means that town employees may not get the 2 percent raise approved by the selectmen.
Tombarello said he was disappointed in the failure of the budget because of that point, but added that he understood where voters were coming from.
Since the election, the town’s finance manager has drawn up various budget scenarios, including versions with the 2 percent raise, a 1 percent raise, and no raise, but selectmen have not yet decided on that point.
Longtime town official and former selectman chair Steve Brown was elected back to the board, beating out newcomer Daniel Saltalamacchia and John Quevillon, also a former selectman, who resigned mid post. Brown narrowly beat out Saltalamacchia, 405 to 340. Quevillon pulled in 183 votes.
In another selectman race, this one uncontested, Jim Devine was elected for another term and newcomer Cynthia Buco garnered 726 votes to get a spot.
In another contested race, incumbent Planning Board member Mark Traeger pulled in the most votes by a large margin with 610. Doug Martin grabbed 506 votes and won the second open seat. Incumbent Matt Brown received 473 votes.
Selectman, three years, (two seats): Jim Devine, 673 WINNER; Cynthia Buco, 726 WINNER. Selectman, two-year term (one seat): Stephen Brown, 405 WINNER; Daniel Saltalamacchia, 340; Jon Quevillon,183.
Budget Committee, three year (one seat): No candidates. Budget Committee, two year (one seat): Cathleen Gorman, 819 WINNER. Budget Committee, one year (one seat): Dawn Nicolaisen, 670 WINNER; Anthony Piemonte, 280.
Planning Board, three year (two seats): Matthew Brown, 473; Douglas Martin, 506 WINNER; Mark Traeger, 610 WINNER. Fire Engineers (three seats): Dennis Giangregorio, 715 WINNER; Paul D’Amore, 797 WINNER; Wilfred Tapley, 819 WINNER. Cemetery Trustee: David Drowne, 919 WINNER. Trustee of the Trust Fund: David Drowne, 892 WINNER. Library Trustee:
Diana True, 906 WINNER. Supervisor of the Checklist: Joanne Vey, 899 WINNER.
Article 2: $3,455,723 for the operating budget and $3,445,641 for the default budget: Yes, 516; No, 567 FAILED.
Article 3: New police station utilizing existing building at 460 Main St.: Yes, 801 PASSED; No, 287.
Article 4: New police station from the ground up: Yes, 436; No, 659 FAILED.
Article 5: Accept highway block grant: Yes, 985 PASSED; No, 126.
Article 6: Move $25,567 from general fund to Road Improvement Capital Reserve Fund: Yes, 908 PASSED; No, 197.
Article 7: Raise $215,000 for road work: Yes, 474; No, 630 FAILED. Warrant
Article 8: $100,000 for the Fire Equipment and Apparatus Capital Reserve Fund: Yes, 594 PASSED; No, 512.
Article 9: Remove 75 percent of Land Use Change Tax from Conservation: Yes, 551 PASSED; No, 526.
Article 10: $6,000 for Old Home Days: Yes, 657 PASSED; No, 448.
Article 11: Revaluation capital reserve fund: Yes, 533; No: 561 FAILED.
Article 12: $16,570 to Town Disaster Management Expendable Trust Fund. Yes, 745 PASSED; No, 352.
Article 13: Rescind poultry and livestock ordinance: Yes, 758 PASSED; No, 329.
Article 14: Pave the Town Hall parking lot: Yes, 371; No, 741 FAILED.
Article 15: Paint exterior and re-glaze windows of Train Depot: Yes, 498; No, 619 FAILED.
Article 16: Establish Bridge Capital Reserve Fund: Yes, 469; No, 638 FAILED.
Article 17: Mosquito control and surveillance: Yes, 748 PASSED; No, 367.
Article 18: House numbering: Yes, 441; No, 663 FAILED.
Article 19: Amend elderly exemption amounts: Yes, 528; No, 571 FAILED.
Article 20: Move the date of Old Home Days?: Yes, 633 PASSED; No, 381.
Article Z-1: Zoning – Amend driveway permit fee section: Yes, 429; No, 662 FAILED.
The town is moving forward with a recount of warrant article 9, moving funds from the Land Use Change Tax away from the conservation commission, following a petition. The count is tentatively scheduled for the selectmen’s meeting on Monday, March 24.