ANDOVER – About 75 voters exercised their right to discuss any and all of the 70 articles on the town warrant in a nearly seven-hour town meeting Saturday.
Moderator Kevin Scott was quick to keep speakers in order and occasionally speakers would question his rules in the sometime jovial and good-natured meeting.
The proposed 3 percent increase to salaried town employees was quickly voted back to the 2010 compensation, and there was discussion that this might result in cut hours.
The compensation and retroactive pay for the town treasurer took a long time to discuss. The fact that extra hours were needed to get the job done had little effect on voters who were out to cut the budget.
Some argued that the new software, which had just been voted for, should make the job easier, though there would be extra work involved in the changeover to the new program.
The treasurer’s hours were cut from 20 to 15, and the salary was reduced to $10,500 rather than the proposed $13,934.
The transfer station budget was cut from the requested $58,000 to $55,000. Resident Dinah Cutting said if it meant closing the transfer station one or two days, so be it. “We are in tough times.”
Voters reduced the amount for the final firetruck payment from $15,045 to $12,045, which they thought would be enough with what was in the fund and paying off the balance sooner.
Voters unanimously agreed not to sell Grimaldi Field and agreed to have the Recreation Committee erect a sign to designate the field as a multiuse recreational area. Voters did not want a “no hunting” sign because they didn’t feel it was necessary.
Voters did not want to donate the old fire engine to the Region 9 school to be used in its fire-training curriculum. Some argued that the school does not have a program, so the fire engine will remain for sale.
The requested $10,000 for the Designated New Highway Equipment Account was reduced to $5,000.
A request from a resident to have the town raise $50,000 for future maintenance of Farmer’s Hill Road failed. Road Commissioner Marshall Meisner said the state had looked at the road and advised him that turning it back to gravel was not a good solution, and it was better to leave it in its present condition until the town could have it properly resurfaced. Several suggestions were made, but none were voted on in the affirmative.
Some social service funds were cut, while others were funded more than recommended. Ones that were funded more were Community Concepts, American Red Cross, Hope Association, Mahoosuc Kids Association, Big Brother Big Sisters and the WVAC cable access channel.
The last topic to solicit much debate was whether or not to make a statement that the community was not a supporter of commercial wind farms in or near the western mountains. After considerable discussion, they voted to go on record as being not supportive of wind power.
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