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Cornish Residents OK Increased Budget

  • A group of helpful Cornish, N.H., residents help push the car of Ally Samuell, of Hanover, up a slippery incline after Town Meeting at Cornish Elementary, Tuesday, March 13, 2018. Samuell, a community organizer with the Sierra Club, was at the meeting to support an article petitioned by the Cornish Energy Committee to set a goal for the town to get 100 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030, and the same for all of its heating and transportation energy by 2050. The measure passed.(Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Frank Ackerman took a moment away from listening to Vermont Public Radio on his headphones to focus on debate over a warrant article during Town Meeting at Cornish Elementary School in Cornish, N.H., Tuesday, March 13, 2018. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Troy Simino, of Cornish, and his sons Zach, 20, left, and Jacob, 15, middle, listen to Cornish Police Chief Doug Hackett as he proposes a $9,000 increase to the appropriation for the Police Department budget during Town Meeting in Cornish, N.H., Tuesday, March 13, 2018. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Jim and Jody Schubert listen to debate over a paving project on one of the town's roads during Cornish, N.H.'s Town Meeting at Cornish Elementary School Tuesday, March 13, 2018. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.



Valley News Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Cornish — Residents at Town Meeting on Tuesday approved an increase to the municipal budget, along with a resolution expressing the town’s commitment to renewable energy.

Total town spending, including all outside requests on the town warrant, was forecast to increase 10.5 percent to $1.4 million, although voters made a few additions from the floor: an extra $9,000 to buy flashing radar speed signs and another $25,000 toward the paving of town roads.

Cornish property taxes overall are expected to decrease, however, in the coming year because of lower special education spending on the school side. The $3.4 million Cornish School budget was approved on Saturday.

After some debate on Tuesday, voters affirmed that Cornish will “commit to a goal of 100 percent reliance on renewable source of electricity by 2030 and renewable sources for all other energy needs, including for heating and transportation, by 2050.”

“If we pass this article, it will show that our town strongly supports renewable energy,” said Mary Boyle of the Energy Committee, which drafted the warrant article. “It will send a strong message to the elected leaders of our nation to let them know that this is important.”

Boyle said the resolution’s supporters understood that Cornish had a “unique identity” and said the article was a vision for the future that did not impose specific monetary or policy mandates.

“The article would not force anyone to do anything they don’t want to do,” she said.

The open-ended nature of the article raised concerns for some residents, including Kyle Witty, who said he wasn’t necessarily opposed to renewables but wondered whether the resolution took into account future monetary costs associated with meeting its goals.

“You’re saying right now that this is not a monetary article,” said Witty, a former road agent in Cornish, but “these are unknown monetary issues that you set policy for.”

Bill Wall said New Hampshire depended, in part, on fossil fuels for business and the resolution could imperil the economy.

“This entire state is under threat right now of losing the top businesses they have,” he said.

The article ultimately passed overwhelmingly by voice vote, with a few loud “nays.”

Residents voted to increase by $25,000 a request to raise $75,000 to maintain the town’s paved roads — an appropriation that the Selectboard already had increased from last year’s $50,000.

Citing concerns about speeding in Cornish Flat, residents approved an addition to the police budget allowing for the purchase of radar speed signs.

Voters defeated a request to use $13,000 from the unspent highway budget to build a shed over a storage container for the town highway garage, citing concerns about the design feasibility of the proposed structure. They also nixed a proposal to allow the Selectboard, rather than the townspeople, to choose the town’s cemetery sexton.

There were no contested elections on the ballot. Selectboard Chairman John Hammond, who has been on the board for 12 years, was unopposed for another three-year term. School Board Chairman Justin Ranney and School Board member Gregory Clark were running again without challengers.