2010 Town Vote Majority and Minority Reports - PDF

Document Sample
2010 Town Vote Majority and Minority Reports - PDF Powered By Docstoc
					                                     2010 Town Vote
                              Majority and Minority Reports

    In preparation for Voting Day on March 9th the Board of Selectmen, Water & Sewer
    Commissioners, and Warrant Article Petitioners would like to present to you the
    following information for your consideration prior to placing your votes on this year’s
    ballot.

    The premise of the information given is that each official was able to cast their vote to
    be in favor or against each warrant article as presented (excluding non-appropriation
    petition warrant articles in which only the petitioner’s views are listed – as per state
    statute requirements and Water/Sewer articles which are voted on by the Water & Sewer
    Commissioners as their governing body). Once their votes were cast they then were
    given the opportunity to write a brief piece to explain their thoughts on why they chose
    the position they did.

    We thank you for your participation in the democratic process and look forward to
    seeing you on the 9th!



ARTICLE 3 – ARRA BORROWING ISSUE - SEWER UPGRADE PROJECT - $1,199,690

Majority Report – Water & Sewer Commissioners Courage, Murray, and Putnam for the majority.
The construction of a new septage facility at the wastewater plant would address strict regulatory requirements to reduce
copper from the plant effluent, minimize the risk of process upsets due to current minimal storage capacity and address
septage odor control issues.


ARTICLE 4 – FIRE DEPARTMENT / AMBULANCE SERVICE LAND PURCHASE BOND - $850,000

Majority Report - Selectmen Bauer, Carmen, Finan, and Putnam for the majority.
Back in the summer of 2008, the Board of Selectmen asked the Community Facilities Committee (CFC) to evaluate the
space needs of our Fire, Ambulance, and Town Hall facilities. Over the ensuing 16 months, the CFC has worked
tirelessly to evaluate these needs and to return to the selectmen recommendations that would address these needs.

Based on the committee's research and the alternatives presented, the majority believes that the most efficient and cost
effective approach to addressing these needs is to build a shared Fire/Ambulance facility on property that is adjacent to
the current fire station. This solution will address the Fire and Ambulance services' long term needs, while the newly freed
up space that will result from vacating the current Ambulance facility in the basement of Town Hall will alleviate
space/crowding issues in that building.
In addition to meeting the facility requirements of these departments, this solution will also ensure that there will be no
loss in emergency response time, and that the cost to taxpayers will be kept as low as possible. In fact, this solution is the
lowest cost option of all options presented by the CFC. By taking the approach we have chosen, the majority believes that
significant cost savings can be achieved by constructing one building instead of two. Common areas, training rooms,
decontamination equipment, etc., will not need to be duplicated, and there would also be significant savings in
maintenance costs (heating/cooling, utilities, janitorial, etc.) with a shared facility. Locating the facility in the immediate
downtown area will ensure that both departments will be able to maintain their current response time levels.

The first step in the process to build this facility is to acquire the necessary land, and this article seeks authorization to
acquire that property. There are four properties that the town’s contracted engineering firm identified as necessary for the
construction of this combined Fire/Ambulance facility at this location. This article seeks to provide up to the full amount of
the article for purchase with any potential remainder available to initiate demolition and engineering studies. Once final
purchase agreements are negotiated and the demolition and engineering costs have been determined, only this amount
will actually be bonded up to a maximum of $850,000. Real estate values are very low and it would be in the best interest
of the town to act sooner rather than later in order to obtain the best possible deal for the taxpayers.

Minority Report – Selectman Daniels for the minority.
Understanding that the needs of the Ambulance Department at this time are a higher priority than the current needs of the
Fire Department, the minority is not yet convinced that the purchase of this land, in this economy, using this incremental
approach, is the right thing to do. The incremental approach does run the risk that voters may approve the purchasing of
the land, but later (future years) object to the cost of building the combined facility. If this happens, it could significantly
affect the operation of the Ambulance Department. One other linger question is whether or not we should buy this land or
use town-owned land.


ARTICLE 5 – OPERATING BUDGET - $11,432,062

Majority Report - Selectmen Bauer, Carmen, Daniels, Finan and Putnam for unanimous support of this article.
Having just come through a very difficult 2009, and recognizing that 2010 will likely be another challenging year, the
Selectmen directed the Town Administrator to work with Department Heads to develop a budget that would be as lean as
possible, hopefully resulting in either no increase or if possible, a decrease from 2009. The Town Administrator and
Department Heads did an outstanding job crafting a budget that recognizes the fact that the many taxpayers are hurting,
while at the same time ensuring that critical services that we all expect will continue to be provided. The proposed 2010
Operating Budget is conservative, yet responsible and realistic. It reflects a decrease of 1.4% over the 2009 Operating
Budget, or a decrease of $158,700. This budget also includes a 0% increase in non-union wages as well as a new sick
time policy which lowers the number of available sick days and eliminates the policy of buying back unused sick time.
Including this proposal, over the past three years, the town budgets submitted for voter approval have decreased an
average of .2 % per year.


ARTICLE 6 – WASTEWATER TREATMENT OPERATING BUDGET - $1,692,112

Majority Report – Water & Sewer Commissioners Courage, Murray, and Putnam for the majority.
The Wastewater Facility Operating Budget is 0.19% below the 2009 budget. The decrease in the operating budget is due
to minor adjustments in various line item accounts.


ARTICLE 7 – WATER DEPARTMENT OPERATING BUDGET -$1,361,466

Majority Report - Water & Sewer Commissioners Courage, Murray, and Putnam for the majority.
The Water Department Operating Budget is 1.9% over the 2009 budget. Debt Service for the first payment of the Curtis
Well improvement project is the contributing factor for the increase.


ARTICLE 8 – ROUTE 101A / ROUTE 13 / OVAL IMPROVEMENTS GRANT - $155,000

Majority Report - Selectmen Bauer, Carmen, Daniels, Finan and Putnam for unanimous support of this article.
In 2006 Milford received a Federal Highway Appropriation to improve traffic and pedestrian safety in the Oval area. The
project total of $3.5 million is to be funded with eighty percent (80%) of the money provided through Federal funds and
twenty percent (20%) local matching funds. The total local matching funds required equal $700,000. In 2006, the voters
approved $80,000 toward this match and in 2008 and 2009 they approved an additional $155,000. This year’s Warrant
Article seeks to fund an additional $155,000 toward the total match. After this appropriation, the remaining outstanding
town match will be $155,000.


ARTICLE 9 – OSGOOD ROAD SIDEWALK / BICYCLE LANE PROJECT – PHASE II - $73,500

Majority Report - Selectmen Bauer, Carmen and Finan for the majority.
The town has long needed a sidewalk on Osgood Road from the Middle School to Adams Field and Hazel Adams Burns
Park. It is a safety issue for at least two hundred Middle School and High School athletes who use Adams Field spring
and fall. Also parents and friends who walk to games and meets due to limited parking at the field. And school age
children and members of the general public who now walk along the road.

The fact that this warrant article is an 80% federal and 20% local grant makes it a very attractive way to finance a town
need.


Minority Report – Selectman Daniels and Putnam for the minority.
There has never been a sidewalk between West Street and Osgood Pond, yet school children have been walking this
stretch of road for years. There is plenty of space in that area for people to walk on the side of the road and not fear for
their safety. The only reason this is before us is that a federal grant is available on an 80/20 split. Understanding the allure
of the grant, it still is going to cost Milford taxpayers $73,500, for a project that Selectmen never viewed important enough
to bring to voters until the federal money "carrot" was dangled before them.


ARTICLE 10 – GRANITE TOWN RAIL TRAIL - $53,210

Majority Report – Selectmen Bauer, Carmen, and Finan for the majority.
This is a request improve the Granite Town Rail Trail and extend it to the Oval. The trail is an ongoing project of
the Conservation Commission for the benefit of all of Milford's citizens. Milford will be matching federal grant money at
20% of the total cost.

Minority Report – Selectman Daniels and Putnam for the minority.
This is before us because a federal grant is available on an 80/20 split. Understanding the allure of the grant, it still is
going to cost Milford taxpayers $53,210. This is not an item that is necessary for the operation of the town, but would be
used to make modifications to a hiking trail. The minority cannot see the justification for spending money to put a
pedestrian tunnel under Melendy Road. The amount of traffic and rural nature of the road does not justify the expense.
While the trail has some rough spots, it is, after all, a hiking trail. The minority also believe that this project would not be
before us if it wasn't for the federal money "carrot" dangling before them.


ARTICLE 11 – AFSCME UNION COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENT - $49,829

Majority Report - Selectman Carmen, Daniels, Finan, and Putnam for the majority in non-support of this article (Selectman
Bauer abstaining).
While a good faith effort was made by the town to work within the fact finders recommendations, the alignment of the
contract with regards to the balance of town employees regarding "sick pay policy" was not reached. The "sick pay
alignment" being a significant issue for the town, this is not supported.


ARTICLE 12 – NON-EMERGENCY COMMUNITY TRANSPORTATION BUS SERVICE - $37,137

Majority Report – Selectmen Bauer, Carmen, Daniels, Finan and Putnam for unanimous support of this article.
The Souhegan Valley Transportation Collaborative (SVTC) is a local organization providing door to door bus service for
non-emergency medical appointments three days a week and rides to four local shopping plazas on Thursdays. Rides are
two dollars each way. Seniors are the majority of users but more than 30% are non-seniors.

SVTC, working with Nashua Transit System, provides wheelchair accessible buses to the towns of Milford, Amherst,
Hollis and Brookline. Milford is currently using over 60% of the ridership. SVTC is providing a much needed public
transportation alternative.


ARTICLE 13 – SOCIAL SERVICES - $35,000

Majority Report – Selectmen Bauer, Carmen, Finan, and Putnam for the majority.
These seventeen agencies provide immeasurable assistance to Milford citizens, thus greatly reducing the amount of
welfare dollars expended by the town. These services are not duplicated services, and while non-obligatory from some
perspectives, are items that may well fall on the welfare department, and the town as a whole, and are for the good of the
entire community. These funds are of the utmost importance in these tumultuous economic times.
Minority Report – Selectman Daniels for the minority.
While there are some organizations that assist the town in fulfilling its obligations, there are others that taxpayers are not
obliged to fund, and still others that provide some non-obligatory duplicative services to those already being provided by
other organizations at no cost to taxpayers. The minority felt that contribution to these other organizations could be made
personally by those who had the means and the desire to contribute to them, and that this extra burden should not be
placed upon taxpayers when it doesn’t have to be. For this reason, the minority supports an amended amount of $30,000.


ARTICLE 14 – GENERAL FRANK E. KALEY PARK - $25,000

Majority Report - Selectmen Bauer, Carmen, and Finan for the majority.
This warrant article seeks $25,000 to be used as matching funds to encourage outside organizations to donate towards
the next phase of development at Kaley Park, included the completion of a large recreational field, irrigation system
extension, additional parking, signage, fencing and other park amenities. The Recreation Commission will be responsible
for raising the funds needed for this project and only as these private donations are made, will these matching dollars (up
to a maximum of $25,000) be released.

The majority feels strongly that although this may not be the best economic environment for a project such as this, Milford
faces an imminent and critical shortage of field space. The closure of Adams Field during the Osgood Pond dredging
project and the closures at Keyes Field during the Fletcher site cleanup will create a critical need for open field space.
This field space is needed not only by the Milford Recreation Department, but also by the MCAA, the Milford School
District, and other organization (who provide field rental income for the town). In order to have the additional field space
ready for the closing of these fields, Kaley Park must be funded in 2010.

Minority Report – Selectman Daniels and Putnam for the minority.
This was a matter of priorities. Those in the minority were trying to find the balance of keeping taxes down, while
supporting those things that were needed for the operation of the town. We did not view this as a priority this year. It just
didn't feel right spending money on playing fields at a time when people are struggling to make ends meet.


ARTICLE 15 – TEAMSTERS UNION COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENT - $24,040

Majority Report – Selectmen Bauer, Carmen, Daniels, Finan and Putnam for unanimous support of this article.
This agreement covers a 3-year period of time from April 1, 2009 through March 31, 2011 for 24 employees. Changes
were primarily in wages. Financial aspects of the contract grant a first year 1.5% across the board wage increase,
retroactive to April 1, 2009. No wage increase will be given for the year commencing April 1, 2010, and a 0-3%
performance-based increase would be given for the year commencing April 1, 2011. This bargaining unit has been
extremely cooperative and easy to work with during the current economic downturn, and in addition, have readily agreed
to the new sick time policy already applicable to non-union employees.


ARTICLE 16 – PUMPKIN FESTIVAL, HOLIDAY DECORATIONS AND PLANTINGS - $15,000

Majority Report - Selectmen Bauer, Carmen, Daniels, Finan and Putnam for unanimous support of this article.
This year Milford celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Pumpkin Festival with over 25,000 visitors attending. Members of
Do-It and other volunteers worked hard to make the event the great success that it was. Twenty-nine non-profit and
community based groups participated with fundraising or awareness activities that benefit Milford in innumerable ways.
Twenty-five thousand visitors provide a huge economic boost to the downtown and to the town as a whole. The advance
publicity on radio, television, the internet and in newspapers and magazines has the same effect.

Let's not forget the beautiful plantings downtown which everyone enjoyed this past season and the holiday decorations
this winter. This is a collaborative effort by Do-It members, town employees, and various community groups to beautify
our town.


ARTICLE 17 – DO-IT OPERATING BUDGET SUPPORT - $15,000

Majority Report - Selectmen Bauer, Carmen, Daniels, Finan and Putnam for unanimous support of this article.
DO-IT is an important volunteer organization that provides valuable assistance to the town and actively improves our
downtown area. The attractiveness of our downtown has a beneficial effect on our entire community, making Milford an
exceptional place to live and work.

Because DO-IT applies for (and receives) many grants for Milford improvements, it is essential that they maintain enough
reserve fund to prove their viability as an ongoing non-profit organization.


ARTICLE 18 - CONSERVATION LAND FUND - $15,000

Majority Report - Selectmen Bauer, Carmen, and Finan for the majority.
This will only be funded with money needed for basic operating needs, and for conservation opportunities. If the proposed
purchase of any new conservation acquisition is successful, it would substantially deplete the balance of their existing
funds, resulting in extreme limitations for future opportunities.

Minority Report - Selectmen Daniels and Putnam for the minority.
This was a matter of priorities. While the minority did not view this article as essential to the operation of the town, it did
recognize the value of some of the services provided to the town. For this reason the minority supports an amended
amount of $10,000.


ARTICLE 19 – FIRE WORKS - $8,500

Majority Report - Selectmen Bauer, Carmen, and Finan for the majority.
Milford has always been a very special place to live. It is activities such as the July 4th fireworks that have always brought
the community together to create traditions that last for generations. Particularly in uncertain economic times, when
people tend to stay home rather than take vacations, it is necessary to continue to support activities that people can enjoy
here in Milford. Fireworks are one of those activities that deserve our support.

Minority Report – Selectman Daniels and Putnam for the minority.
The minority felt there were better ways to spend $8,500 than to blow it off in a 20-minute fireworks display. This article
was rejected by taxpayers last year and the Recreation Department successfully substituted a bonfire event.


ARTICLE 20 – SUMMER BAND CONCERTS - $9,000

Majority Report - Selectmen Bauer, Carmen, Daniels, Finan and Putnam for unanimous support of this article.
In tough economic times vacations may be few and far between for a lot of citizens and this will give them an opportunity
to get out and enjoy an evening of music and community involvement. It is also a tradition that makes Milford a special
town to live in and we should continue to support it.


ARTICLE 21 – MEMORIAL, VETERANS & LABOR DAY PARADE TOWN SUPPORT - $6,000

Majority Report – Selectmen Bauer, Carmen, Daniels, Finan and Putnam for unanimous support of this article.
The Memorial Day and Veterans Day parades are a chance to publicly honor our veterans who have sacrificed so much
for our country. The Labor Day Parade is a wonderful community tradition enjoyed by all.


ARTICLE 22 – ADOPTION OF RSA 41:14-A – AUTHORITY TO SELL OR BUY LAND AND BUILDINGS - $0

Majority Report - Selectmen Bauer, Carmen, Daniels, Finan and Putnam for unanimous support of this article.
This warrant article will give the Selectmen the authority to buy or sell land and buildings, only after first being reviewed by
both the Planning Board and the Conservation Commissions. This is important, as it gives the Selectmen the ability to act
quickly to take advantage of certain opportunities as they arise, while providing appropriate checks by requiring the
consultation of two other boards. This is largely a housekeeping Warrant Article, as the Department of Revenue
Administration had listed Milford as having adopted this Statute in 1994, however, local records indicate this is not the
case.
ARTICLE 23 – DISCONTINUANCE OF LIBRARY EXPENDABLE TRUST FUND - $0

Majority Report - Selectmen Bauer, Carmen, Daniels, Finan and Putnam for unanimous support of this article.
This fund is no longer utilized, and has not been for some time. For this reason, it should be discontinued.


ARTICLE 24 – ADOPTION OF RSA 31:19 – AUTHORITY TO ACCEPT TRUSTS - $0

Majority Report - Selectmen Bauer, Carmen, Daniels, Finan and Putnam for unanimous support of this article.
The state DRA has recommended that the town adopt this Trust acceptance, and as such it is simply a compliance
matter.


ARTICLE 25 – RECLASSIFICATION OF JENNISON ROAD AS SCENIC WITH CORRECTED TERMINAL POINTS - $0

Majority Report – Selectmen Bauer, Carmen, Daniels, Finan and Putnam for unanimous support of this article.
The Board of Selectmen supports this housekeeping article which corrects a past mistake.


ARTICLE 26 – RECLASSIFICATION OF FOSTER ROAD AS SCENIC WITH CORRECTED TERMINAL POINTS - $0

Majority Report – Selectmen Bauer, Carmen, Daniels, Finan and Putnam for unanimous support of this article.
This is just a house keeping issue. The original vote in 1988 had no verbiage outlining the beginning and end of the scenic
portion. We are just adding that.

ARTICLE 27 – RECLASSIFICATION OF MASON ROAD AS SCENIC WITH CORRECTED TERMINAL POINTS - $0

Majority Report – Selectmen Bauer, Carmen, Daniels, Finan and Putnam for unanimous support of this article.
In 1974, Milford voted to classify Mason Road as a Scenic Road. However, the wording of the original article included the
description “…from the State Compact Line to the Wilton Town line”. Since there is no longer a State section of this road,
the description in the original article is no longer valid. This warrant article seeks to correct the description of Mason Rd.,
keeping the entire roadway a Scenic Road.


ARTICLE 28 – CABLE ACCESS REVOLVING FUND

Majority Report – Selectmen Bauer, Carmen, Daniels, Finan and Putnam for unanimous support of this article.
For many years franchise fees have been collected from cable subscribers with the intent of using these funds to fund the
Public, Education, and Government cable access program. For many years these funds have been deposited into the
general fund, where they can be used for any operational purpose of the town, as opposed to the reason Selectmen
originally authorized the implementation of this tax. Last year the Board of Selectmen implemented an incremental
approach to dedicating these funds to the purpose for which they were collected by creating a Cable Access Revolving
Fund. This year the Board continues that approach through this article, which states that commencing January 1, 2011, all
franchise fees collected from cable subscribers would be deposited into the revolving fund, not the general fund. All
expenses for the cable access program would then be paid from that revolving fund. This protects cable subscribers and
non-cable subscribers alike. Cable subscribers benefit by knowing that the franchise fees, which they alone pay, will only
be used to support and advance the cable access channels and programs to which they have access. Non-cable
subscribers benefit because they do not have to pay the cost for any future expenditures or expansion of services to
which they do not have access.


ARTICLE 29 – AMENDMENT TO NH CONSTITUTION DEFINING MARRIAGE – BY PETITION

Petitioner Report – This year citizens who wanted the opportunity to vote on the definition of marriage have filed
approximately150 petitions in New Hampshire towns to place this article on the warrant for Town Meeting to vote on.

The article states, “The citizens of New Hampshire should be allowed to vote on an amendment to the New Hampshire
Constitution that defines “marriage”.
This article does not require that anyone take a position either for or against same-sex marriage. That is not what this is
about. This amendment is about democracy. Allowing a few legislatures in Concord who are voted in and out every few
years to define and legitimize an institution as important to the very fabric of our society as marriage is unjust. Nobody
wins when elected officials govern without the consent or expressed will of the governed. The distinctive union of marriage
became nothing more than a law that can be changed over and over.

Elected officials are supposed to represent the will of the people. There is reason to believe that our elected officials have
not. This is a non-binding referendum question. That means the outcome will not directly affect the current laws. Our
legislature can only properly represent when they know the expressed will of the people. This article is designed to do that
– to conclusively determine the collective will of the people and pass that along to the people who represent us.

In Democratic Republic, the government is supposed to act in according to the will of the people.

No one who believes in Democracy should be opposed to letting people vote.