Wooden salt shed to be put on Derry Town Meeting ballot;
Transfer Station fee hike proposed

CORRECTION: While the Londonderry Select Board did discuss on Jan. 12 the amount that it would ask the voters to approve, the board did not vote on that dollar amount that night.  It only decided to ask voters to approve the wood-frame shed. However, at the Tuesday, Jan. 17 meeting, the board did decide to ask voters to approve an amount “not to exceed $200,000 for the salt/sand shed.” It will also ask for $40,000 in 2017 and finance the rest.  The Telegraph should have that  story later today.

By Bruce Frauman
© 2017 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Select Board members discuss plans for a new salt and sand shed Photos by Bruce Frauman

The Londonderry Select Board on Thursday Jan. 12 voted to ask voters at Town Meeting if they will approve spending $175,000 for  a wood frame shed to cover the town’s supply of salt and sand.

Board member Paul Gordon estimated the cost of a fabric covered Quonset-style building would be about $57,000 and board member Bill Wylie estimated a wood framed building to cost about $59,000.

Voting in favor of the more expensive structure, Gordon said the aesthetics and long life of a wood building were worth more than the $2,000 difference. In order to have an application ready for the Development Review Board meeting on Jan. 18, Gordon used rough estimates costs to arrive at the final number.

These include $11,000 to hook up power, $35,000 for excavating, $3,000 for a block divider to separate sand from salt for construction, $47,000 for concrete, $14,000 for pads and floor paving, and $5,000 for an electrical panel and electrical outlets. Gordon said each phase will have to go to bid before the actual prices are known. Finally, Wylie will ask an engineer he works with for the cost of designing the building and providing engineering drawings for construction.

Gordon expects to ask for a $25,000 appropriation from the 2017 budget at Town Meeting, Tuesday, March 7, then finance the rest through a loan from the cemetery commission.  Gordon will use a handout or PowerPoint presentation to tell inform voters at Town Meeting that the board is “100 percent behind this” proposal and there is no “Plan B.”

Increase to trash rates proposed

Solid waste coordinator Esther Fishman proposes increases in rates for trash disposal

In other business, overseer of the Transfer Station Esther Fishman proposed increasing the tipping fees for residential trash from $1 for a 13-gallon kitchen bag, $3 for a 30-gallon bag, and $5 for a contractor bag to $2, $4 and $6 respectively. Fishman said that as recycling increases, the Transfer Station is collecting less waste. She recommended that construction waste tipping fees be increased from $30 to $50 a cubic yard for light waste and from $40 to $60 per cubic yard for heavy waste.

Board chair Steve Prouty noted that volume cannot be readily converted to weight. This conversion is being estimated by the staff at the Transfer Station.  “We charge by the cubic yard, but are charged (to remove the waste) by weight,” said Fishman. In the past, Fishman noted, the ground was deemed to be too unstable to provide a good base for a scale. Prouty said a scale could be re-calibrated every day, as is done in the Post Office. Fishman said that a scale used at the Springfield Transfer Station might work in Londonderry and she will look at it.

Town Treasurer Tina Labeau said the auditors would be happy if the Transfer Station stopped taking cash. The discussion then centered around  switching to coupons that could be sold at the Town Office Building or stores such as Clark’s IGA and used in place of cash at the Transfer Station for residential trash. Checks would be accepted only for construction waste. “I personally think it would be worth having a special meeting sit down with you,” said Prouty, endorsing the idea. “It’s a bigger issue than what we are making it. I think somehow, we have to take the human element out of it totally if we can. I’ve seen what goes on up there with my own eyes.”

Prouty agreed with board member Will Reed, who said it would probably take a scale to achieve that goal, but that “won’t happen any time soon.”

Fishman would like a decision in time for each of the five towns using the Transfer Station time to add a notice of the rate increase and any changes in procedures “in their property tax bills.” This takes place in August or September. Labeau will look into using credit and debit cards at the Transfer Station, though Fishman noted that “every transaction takes time.”

Town Clerk Kelly Pajala tells the board that there is a candidate for moderator and that the Act 46 merger proposal will be on the ballot in March

Candidate steps forward for moderator;
school merger vote in March

We appear to have a moderator for town meeting,” said Town Clerk Kelly Pajala, noting that two residents expressed interest in running for the moderator position. Pajala said they had talked and agreed on which one would run. Pajala said she will let him chose when to announce his candidacy.

Pajala also reminded voters that the proposed school district merger vote will be held at Town Meeting as well. “The vote to have the merger happen to elect the directors for the Board of the new district will be happening on Town Meeting day,” said Pajala.  It will be an Australian Ballot and polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. “I know there is more information coming, but people at large who aren’t tapped into the school system probably haven’t heard much about it but its coming and it’s going to be really different from anything we have been a part of before,” said Pajala.

“Am I right in saying that we don’t really have much of a choice?” asked Wylie.

Dick Dale requests time to talk about the proposed Act 46 merger plan at Londonderry’s candidates night

“We do have a choice,” said Northshire Merger Committee member Dick Dale. “Under Act 46, as it is currently in place, the state has a right to do what they want to do.”  Dale said the goal is “to create a logical school system of like-minded people. It is also to create a critical mass of students to be able to have substantial cost savings possible … Dorset, Manchester and Londonderry are viewed as necessary because that gets us to the critical number.”

Dale asked for time to speak about the merger at the Candidates and Information Night scheduled for 7 p.m.  Thursday, Feb. 16 in the Twitchell Building. Prouty  said, if at the end of the meeting there was time, that Dale could talk about the merger for about five minutes.

After going through the budget, almost line by line, including the appropriations requests, the anticipated municipal property tax rate is $0.3590 for every $100 of assessed valuation.

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