2019 Raymond Town Deliberative


Little Discussion, Little Change at Raymond Town Deliberative Session
By Penny Williams  2-11-19

The Raymond Town Deliberative Session on Feb. 9 attracted not many more than 50 residents and took five and a half hours to complete.

Most warrant articles were sent to the official ballot without amendments. Taking a considerable amount of time – but resulting in no changes - were the 13 social service funding articles, which were presented individually this year, rather than as a group.

Article 8, the Town Operating Budget of $7,714,563 and the Water Department Operating Budget of $1,046,387, totaling $8,760,950, with a default budget of $8,817,098, was moved to the ballot without comment or question. Tax impact is $4.501 per thousand for the operating budget and $4.623 for the default.

Article 11, to establish a Contingency Fund, was amended by the selectmen from the original figure of $195,000 to $90,000 because the amount of the fund by statute is limited to 1 percent of all appropriations minus capital expenditures and amortized debt. This fund will allow department budgets to be based on actual need, according to Town Manager Joe Ilsley. The amendment was approved and the amended article was moved to the ballot, with the Budget Committee affirming its recommendation of the amended article.

The selectmen also added an amendment to Article 14, to Establish Tax Deeded Properties Reserve Fund. The amendment added the words "and the Town Brownfield sites to cover potential cost of state and federal regulatory requirements." The amendment passed and the amended article was then moved the ballot, with the selectmen and Budget Committee confirming their recommendation of the article. The amended article establishes a reserve fund for the purposes of securing, cleaning and otherwise maintaining properties taken by the town via tax deed, and raising and appropriating $225,000 to be placed in the reserve fund.

An amendment to the Elderly Exemption Article 15, proposed by June Dickerson to reduce the increased amount to $200 each for single and married for the elderly exemption, was defeated 51-2. The original article was moved to the ballot as presented. It increases the single person income amount from $27,000 to $30,350 and the family amount from $37,000 to $41,150.

Dickerson also proposed an amendment lowering Capital Improvements, Article 16, from a total of $345,000 to $258,250 by reducing the Highway Department Vehicle Repair & Replacement down to $50,000 and the Highway Heavy Equipment down to $30,000. This amendment failed 50-2. Colleen West-Coates, chairman of the Capital Improvements Committee (CIP), explained the CIP process, and Public Works Director Steve Brewer spoke to the article and the Town’s needs in those two areas. The article was moved to the ballot as originally presented.

Dickerson offered an amendment to Article 20, Road Reconstruction, reducing the requested $315,000 to $300,000; it was soundly defeated again. The article as originally presented was moved to the ballot.

June Bailey offered an amendment to Article 24, Mosquito Control that would forbid the use of chemical insecticides. The amendment was defeated and the original article calling for $40,000 for mosquito control was moved to the ballot as presented.

Wayne Watjus offered an amendment to Article 41 regarding conversion of streetlights to LED lighting that added the language "for any other energy efficient lighting." The amendment passed, and was followed by an amendment by Kirsten Corbett that sought to add  "more" to “energy efficient.” The amendment failed and the previously amended article was moved to the ballot.

Article 12, Solid Waste Pay as You Throw Program, asked voters to raise and appropriate $305,000 to continue to subsidize the program with tax dollars. The article states that if it is not approved by voters, the program will be subsidized primarily by bag sales and their costs will increase. The article drew almost no comment and was sent to the ballot as written.

Ilsley explained Article 13, Waste Disposal Special Revenue Fund (Fund 18), and noted that in order to tap into and use the funds collected from the bag and recycle bin sales - revenue for the Pay As You Throw Program – this article must be approved. Without approval of this article, those funds will continue to be collected but cannot be used, so failure to approve this article will result in the immediate end of the Pay As You Throw Program, based on New Hampshire’s “no means no” law. The article was moved as presented to the ballot.

Article 27, a Full-Time Firefighter for $84,025, with a tax impact of 0.089 per thousand, drew some debate. Beth Paris said she thinks that is a lot to pay for a firefighter in Raymond and questioned whether there was a need for a fifth full-time firefighter. Fire Chief Paul Hammond explained the position was needed in order to be able to cover all shifts, was less expensive than overtime, and there has been a sufficient increase in calls to warrant it. Town officials noted the amount includes all benefits as well as salary. The article was moved to the ballot as presented.

Articles 28 through 40, the proposed Social Services articles, attracted considerable comment. Those against this model called it likely to produce voter fatigue, while those who approved this model said it provided choice.

Selectman Jack Barnes explained the board was trying this model as an "experiment" because doing it this way had been brought up by a citizen, and said it would be reconsidered next year. Susan Hilchey of the Raymond Voter Information Project, which produces a free voter guide to Town and School warrant articles, provided information relative to each agency based on the research VIP members had done.

Dawn “Rani” Merryman said she is against taxpayer money being used to provide social services because she doesn't think that is what town government should be doing - giving taxpayer money to charities

With all 13 agency requests added together, the total for the social service articles was $80,669, with a tax impact of .0861 per thousand. All were moved to the ballot as presented.

Articles 9, Collective Bargaining Agreement between the Town and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, amount of $21,990; Article 10, covering a special meeting should Article 9 be defeated; Article 17, Capital Reserve Funds Water Revenues; Article 18, Purchase of One Public Works Truck using funds from the Unassigned Fund Balance; Article 19, Purchase of Public Works Heavy Equipment Vehicle using funds from the Unassigned Fund Balance; Article 21, Shim and Overlay; Articles 22 and 23, Sick and Vacation Non-Union and Sick and Vacation Pay Union Trust Funds; Article 25, Raymond Scholarship Fund; and, Article 26, Fourth of July, all were moved to the ballot without discussion.

Also moved to the ballot were the Zoning Amendment articles, articles 2-5, which cannot be amended. Articles 6 and 7, citizen petitions written by Anthony Dickerson, were also moved to the ballot.

At the opening of the Deliberative Session, Selectmen Wayne Welch and Greg Bemis were presented with plaques for their years of service on the Board of Selectmen. Neither is running for re-election.

Following the close of the Deliberative Session, the Budget Committee was presented with a motion to revisit its Feb. 2 vote not to recommend the school budget.

See Surprise Motion Made at Budget Committee to Revisit School Budget Recommendation article .

 

To read a detailed description of what a YES vote versus a NO vote will mean visit the Raymond Voter Information Project Website.

Be Sure To Come Out and Vote on March 12.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can’t remember what happened last year or prior years?

Refresh your memory by reading

Raymond Voting Results
from March 2018.

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Raymond Voting Results
from March 2017.

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2017 Voting News & Letters

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Raymond Voting Results
from March 2016.

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Raymond Voter Information Project

Box 813, Raymond NH 03077
603-895-4084


Click Raymond VIP NEWS to visit the Raymond VIP NEWS page.


To view bills in NH State house click NH House of Representatives website.


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