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Sunapee Voters to Get First Look at Town, School Warrants

Sunapee — Voters can weigh in on the proposed school and town budgets along with other warrant articles at the deliberative sessions scheduled for next week.

The school deliberative session will be held Monday beginning at 7 p.m. in the high school gymnasium and the town deliberative session is on Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the high school gymnasium. Residents at both sessions will discuss, and possibly amend, articles seeking appropriations before adopting the warrants for the annual town and school meeting vote on March 12.

The proposed school budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1 of $10.7 million is nearly equal to this year’s budget, Superintendent Brendan Minnihan said. Increases in costs for insurance and the district’s portion of the state retirement system were about offset by reductions in debt service and out-of-district special education costs, he noted.

The budget, as proposed, would slice three cents off the school tax rate.

A three-year teachers’ contract under article 4 would cost $116,000 the first year and add 10 cents to the school tax rate. If approved, money for the second year of $114,000 and third year of $127,500 would go into the operating budgets next year and the following year.

Other articles include $270,000 to enlarge and renovate the high school art room, which would add 24 cents to the tax rate, and $50,000 for engineering services for a proposed road from the elementary school to the new safety services complex. Minnihan said the road would give a second access to the school in case of emergency, allow students to get to the proposed new library without having to be on Route 11, and extend a water line to improve water pressure at the school.

The town warrant has 25 articles including eight proposed amendments to the zoning ordinances and a $975,000 bond to partially pay for the design, construction and furnishing of a new library estimated to cost $2.7 million. The same article, which requires 60 percent approval, was defeated last year when voters approved $1,725,000 for the library under a separate article. That money will come from donations, an existing capital campaign fund and a capital reserve fund.

The proposed town budget is just under $6.1 million with a default budget of about $48,000 less.

There are 10 articles requesting appropriations for different capital reserve funds.

Article 13 would add $200,000 to next year’s paving program to go with the $100,000 in the proposed budget for paving.

To increase pay for firefighters, $55,000 is being requested under article 14 to establish a point system that would increase compensation.

Patrick O’Grady can be reached at ogrady56@yahoo.com