Town Deliberative Session uneventful
By STEPHEN BEALE
The town deliberative session on Saturday, Feb. 2,
cruised through several warrant articles, concentrating
on a $2 million bond for land purchases and two
petitioned articles on water rights and taxes.
The $2 million bond is for the purchase of 27 acres of
land at 70 Center St., owned by Joanna and Kilton
It will cost $700,000 to buy the land and $500,000 to
develop it into recreational fields. But the property,
which abuts the town transfer station, could also become
the site for a future municipal building, Selectman
Scott Gross said at the deliberative session. Another
$250,000 out of the bond is for conservation easements.
The remaining $500,000 originally was for another land
purchase, but Gross said the town was not able to
negotiate a deal in time for the March election. At the
deliberative session, he proposed cutting the extra
money but voters said the full amount was necessary for
future land-related expenses, thus defeating his motion.
The full $2 million bond would cost taxpayers 19 cents
per $1,000 in assessed property value in 2009. The lower
one would have been 14 cents, according to Gross.
That difference of 5 cents is a small price to pay for
the advantage of $500,000 if future opportunities arise,
said Collis Adams.
“It is in the community’s best interest to look as far
into the future as we can,” Adams said.
The session, which was attended by about 60 residents,
sailed through several other significant warrant
articles with little fanfare. Major items included $2.5
million for a municipal water system in the Lynchville
and Danis Parks area and the $18.7 million operating
Of that total, $16.6 million will be raised through
taxes and other regular revenue sources. The remainder
is for the sewer and ambulance operations, which fund
themselves through fees, according to Selectman John
The $16.6 million amount is a 12.4 percent increase over
the previous budget, but $1.5 million of that amount is
the result of not presenting the annual town road
reconstruction plan as a separate article. This year,
the work is included in the operating budget, Caprio
Two articles pertain to the Fire Department. One grants
firefighters a contract, costing $73,078 in 2008. The
previous contract expired in 2005 and salaries and
benefits have remained frozen since then. The second
article proposes two new firefighters, the cost of which
would be shouldered by a federal SAFER grant, which
stands for Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency
In the first year, the town would pay $60,088 for the
new firefighters. The grant would carry the remaining
$71,680. Over time, the town share would rise while the
federal contribution would wane. By the fifth year of
the SAFER program, the town share would increase to
$140,660, with $12,665 from the federal government.
The proposal aroused little discussion at the
deliberative session, in contrast to 2007, when a plan
for 10 new firefighters was crushed by voters.
Total proposed spending for 2008 is $23,958,236,
tallying the operating budget with the other articles.
If all the articles pass in the March election, the town
portion of the tax rate will be $9.16 per $1,000
assessed property value, an increase of 35 cents,
according to Caprio. In 2007 it was $8.81.
Other than the land bond, most of the attention of
voters was riveted on two petition articles with no
immediate impact on spending or taxes.
Article 24 directs the Board of Selectmen to pass a new
ordinance, which would require that any withdrawals of
about 57,000 gallons of ground or surface water per day
have to be approved by voters. The selectmen could pass
such an ordinance, but could not enforce it until the
state Legislature grants that authority to the town,
according to Caprio.
Several voters said the measure would prevent outside
corporations from draining local water resources,
avoiding protracted battles that have occurred
“Not everyone is aware that across the state some towns
have lost control of their water resources,” said Linda
Article 25 asks voters to declare that the property tax
is unjust and unfair and call on state elected officials
to reject the pledge for no new taxes and have an open
discussion about all options for raising revenue.
Caprio warned that the article is an effort to raise
more revenues for the state, ultimately putting more of
a burden on taxpayers.
Several other residents were wary of the sweeping
language of the article. “I, as a citizen of Goffstown,
don’t feel comfortable stating that the property taxes
are unfair or unjust,” said Martha Fournier. “I haven’t
done that analysis.”
Fournier proposed an amendment to the article, deleting
the language describing property taxes as unjust and
unfair. William Exner, the pastor of St. Matthew’s
Episcopal Church, accepted the amendment, saying that
the goal of the article was merely to stimulate an open
Reproduced by the Goffstown