Winchester votes on wastewater project

Saturday March 9, 2013

WINCHESTER, N.H. -- The town is using the second article on the 2013 town warrant to ask residents to approve money for the third and final phase of upgrades to the wastewater treatment plant.

Voters have been notified to meet at town hall at 8 p.m. to act upon the 29 articles of the town warrant. Polls, where citizens will vote to elect town officers (Article 1), will not close before 7 p.m.

Adoption of Article 2 would raise up to $1.48 million to prepare plans and specifications for sewer collection system inspections and to carry out improvements to the facility on Duso Road. The article was unanimously recommended by the town's Board of Selectmen but a recommendation was struck down, 6-2, by the budget committee.

Joan C. Morel, the then-town administrator, said 50 percent of the money voters will be asked to appropriate will be forgiven, meaning they will not have to be covered by the town. She also said the project's third phase will include upgrades that weren't part of the previous two phases because there wasn't enough money budgeted. Phase 3 will also include inspecting the system that runs through the town, she said.

The original facility on Duso Street was built to last only 20 years, the town administrator said.

All the upgrades -- which include installing a station to receive sludge delivered to the plant -- will ensure the town qualifies for federal and state funds for half the third phase's cost.

A three-fifths majority is required for the article to pass, according to the town warrant.

The money raised and appropriated would be used to prepare plans and specifications for sewer collection inspections and for the construction of the third phase of upgrades to the Winchester Wastewater Treatment Plant. The upgrades will qualify the town for federal and state funds with 50 percent principal forgiveness.

Article 3 asks voters if they approve of raising and appropriating $3,417,661 for a general operations budget. If this article is defeated, the budget will be $3,193,503, which is the same as last year with certain adjustments required by previous action of the town.

Adoption of Article 4 would raise $318,361 for the town's sewer department while Article 5 seeks $240,042 for the water department. Article 5 asks voters if they wish to appropriate $50,000 for a new backhoe loader with blades, rippers and heavy-duty and general-purpose buckets. None of these articles will affect taxation, since these funds will be raised by user fees.

Adoption of both Articles 7 and 8 would place money into non-lapsing Capital Reserve Funds established at 2006's Town Meeting. Article 7 specifically raise $25,000 for the town's share of state road grant construction costs and Article 8 would raise $14,000 to perform an assessing update or reevaluation of the real estate scheduled for 2014-15 in Winchester.

Domenic Poli can be reached at, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoli_reformer.


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