145 Voters Approve
Sewer, Drainage Upgrades
At a special Town Meeting on
Wednesday, May 27th, Goffstown residents approved three articles to update the town’s sewer and drainage, as well as increase the number of officers on the police force.
With the understanding that the majority of the funding would be provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, residents should see upgrades made to their sewer line, drainage, and police force over the next few years.
More than 100 residents gathered at what would be Goffstown’s first traditional town meeting since 1996 on Wednesday, May 27. The meeting began with the discussion of Article 1, and the changes proposed for the town’s sewer line. James Bouchard, chairman of the Sewer Commission, spoke on behalf of the sewer pipes in dire need of attention.
Bouchard said the project, requiring $2.5 million worth of funding, would upgrade the sewer pipes to a 12- to 15-inch width, increasing flow while decreasing harmful seepage concerns. Bouchard went on to warn residents that the construction necessary to make such changes would inevitably cause increased traffic along South Mast Road. The chairman said the alterations would bring with them a 10 percent annual increase in residential sewer fees. Without the $1,250,000 worth of federal funding, Bouchard said the fees could reach as high as 20 percent.
“This is highly competitive money,” said Mary Downes, Goffstown resident and representative from the Office of Energy and Planning. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance.”
Residents were also confronted with issues surrounding drainage problems. Scott Gross, Daychairman of the Board of Selectmen, addressed the town’s need to re-direct harmful runoff from storm water. The project, which remains dependent on $350,000 worth of American Recovery and Reinvestment funding, would look to reconstruct the shoulders on South Mast Road with impervious pavement, as well as add large amounts of stone to help defend other drainage problems.
Gross pointed out that the major modifications would significantly help flooding along South Mast Road and areas of Pineridge Street and Wallace Road. Residents seemed anxious to hear that additional money necessary to aid the construct would come from the town’s road plan funds and not their pockets.
The seemingly placid mood surrounding the town meeting was shattered with applause as Police Chief Patrick Sullivan stood to speak on behalf of the department’s need for additional officers. The police chief said that, ideally, the department would look to hire three additional officers.
A grant from the COPS Hiring Recovery Program would cover 100 percent of the officers’ wages and benefits for three years. Being that the grant obligation period is four years, the town would be required to fund the positions for the duration of the fourth year.
“There is an increase in crime throughout the Manchester area,” said Gross. “There is a strong possibility this crime will spill over into our community.”
Considering one-ninth of the town’s population is in school during the day, Sullivan said that hiring a resource officer would be the department’s first priority if they receive their grant. The police chief went as far to say that if only enough funding was received to hire one officer, that officer would be filling the school resource position.
Gross said it’s unlikely that the department will get funds sufficient enough to hire three officers, two would be more likely.
Ideally, if the department is able to hire three additional officers, Sullivan said units would be able to focus more attention on concerns related to Internet crime and motor vehicle safety.