Springfield, N.H. Budget to Stay Steady

Springfield residents will vote on town officials by Australian ballot from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 12, at Springfield Town Hall. The business portion of the meeting will be held at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 16, at the town hall.

Springfield, n.h. — Town spending would rise by about $9,400 in the proposed $1.2 million budget for 2013, due to increased legal and retirement costs.

The increase represents arise of less than 1 percent, said Selectman Leigh Callaway, and will probably have little bearing on the town portion of Springfield’s tax rate. The owner of a $200,000 home in Springfield currently pays about $852 annually in town taxes.

Increased retirement obligations to town employees account for part of the rise in spending. Among towns around the state, “we’re not unique in that respect at all,” Callaway said. The town’s obligation rose $10,000 from last year to this year. Another area driving the increase is legal costs, though Callaway declined to comment on the town’s legal matters.

On this year’s Town Meeting warrant are articles to bond for a new rescue vehicle for the fire department at a cost of $99,000 over three years, with $8,600 due in the first year, and to lease a new police cruiser for $36,000, with $12,685 to be paid the first year. Normally, expenses like those would increase the tax rate, but Callaway doesn’t anticipate they will, in part because the town will finish paying off the purchase of a fire engine this year. If the articles to purchase the rescue vehicle and cruiser pass, Callaway said the town’s current debt obligation of $47,000 shouldn’t see a drastic change.

The town is also proposing to raise $30,000 for an assessment of the town’s wetland regulations, though the town is awaiting word on whether it will receive a $30,000 grant from the New Hampshire Housing Finance Agency. Other items on the warrant this year include proposals to raise $19,000 to preserve the steeple and repair windowsills at the town hall, and $4,000 to deposit in a trust fund for Old Home Day. Both amounts would be raised from an unreserved fund balance.

Selectboard Chairman John Chiarella’s term is up this year, and he’s not seeking another term. Running to replace him are George McCusker, 61, and John Trachy, 64. Trachy has lived in the town for more than 20 years and has served on the budget and communications committees and conservation commission. He previously owned his own commericail insurance agency, and currently works at Goss Logan Insurance in Lebanon.

Trachy said that as a Selectman he would develop ways to bring the community together.

“We don’t have much of a community spirit in town,” he said. “We don’t have an elementary school, there are no retail stores in town... there’s no way for people to meet at a children’s gathering at school, since there is no school here any longer.”

McCusker, 61, is a retired pharmacist and mounted an unsuccessful campaign for the board last year for Callaway’s seat. He previously served four years on the board, and is currently an alternate on the Springfield planning and zoning boards. If elected, he’d like to see several proposed projects, such as the repair of the town garage roof and the construction of a sand shed, to completion.

“I think I can make a positive difference,” he said.

Springfield is part of the seven-town Kearsarge Regional School District, and the district’s residents will also vote on school matters on March 12.

Katie Beth Ryan can be reached at kbryan@vnews.com or 603-727-3242.