WALPOLE, N.H. -- Voters adopted a new general government budget and approved of a quit claim transfer of a piece of town-owned property during a smooth Town Meeting that lasted less than two hours Saturday.
Residents met at Walpole Town Hall to take action on the latter seven articles on the 2014 town warrant and they approved a $3,600,413 budget in addition to transferring the land between County Road and Meetinghouse Road to the Hooper Trust for $1 (Article 8).
The adopted seven-figure budget represents $3,190,538 for the town's operating budget, $150,296 for the water fund operating budget and $259,579 for the sewer operating budget. The article passed overwhelmingly from the floor.
Walpole Police Chief Michael Paquette told the crowd the budget will allow his department to have more full-time officers out on the streets for longer periods of time. This will make it much easier to respond to emergency calls in the middle of the night. Paquette told the Reformer he expects to acquire one of his part-time officers who are already full-time certified. This, he said, will save money because they don't need to be sent to the full-time academy.
Peggy Pschirrer, chairwoman of the Hooper Study Committee, explained the transferred property lot is a triangle of land and showed the audience a map of the property.
"When the court approves our conservation easement (of the Hooper Golf Course), we would like to have this triangle of land included in that conservation easement. The town owns it now. It is not taxed property," she said. "It would be part of the entire conservation easement we've been seeking on this property, that we've been raising money for, and thank you all who have participated because we're doing well. We have a very broad base of support."
A conservation easement would prohibit any developments on the land.
Voters also adopted Article 4, which will raise and appropriate $148,000 for a new 2014 backhoe with a various accessories for the Walpole Highway Department. Out of this amount, $118,000 will come from unreserved fund balance, with the remaining $30,000 to come from the trade of a 2000 John Deere 410E backhoe.
Article 5 was amended to say the $32,500 would be raised and appropriated (with $22,500 coming from the Heavy Equipment Capital Reserve Fund and $10,000 to be generated by taxes) for a new stainless steel side dump body with liquid capability for the 2008 Ford 450 already at the highway department. The article passed as amended.
Voters then adopted Article 7 and, therefore, agreed to raise and appropriate $20,000 to be deposited into the Capital Reserve Fund for a new police vehicle. Paquette explained a new police vehicle is needed very five years. The sum of money designated in Article 7 would increase the Capital Reserve Fund's total to $23,000.
Before adjourning, residents adopted Article 9 to discontinue "the part of the third New Hampshire turnpike that is on the Southwest corner of Old Stage Road, where it meets County Road." The town will keep a four-rod right of way for County Road and a four-rod right of way for Old Stage Road.
Domenic Poli can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; or 802-254-2311, ext. 277. You can follow Domenic on Twitter @dpoli_reformer.