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Grantham Residents Breeze Through Budget

Grantham — A full house of voters dispensed with the town’s business in a little over an hour, approving budgets and the lease-purchase of a plow truck with nary a “nay” vote. In all-day balloting, voters also re-elected Selectman Warren Kimball, who ran unopposed.

Voters approved spending just under $3.1 million to support town government, public safety, public works, recreation and other operations. That’s about $65,000, or 2 percent, more than the current fiscal year, and half of the increase is attributable to the first payment on the new plow truck.

The item that generated the most discussion wasn’t on the meeting warrant. Town officials opted to replace a police cruiser that had been totaled in an incident on Interstate 89 with money from the insurance settlement and from reserve funds, rather than put the purchase on the meeting warrant. Voters who feel the town’s small force doesn’t require four police cars expressed dismay when the public safety budget was up for discussion. “It was addressed at a Selectmen’s meeting,” Police Chief Walter Madore Sr. said. He didn’t bring detailed financial information to the meeting because he didn’t think it would be up for discussion, he said.

“I think we’re getting off track here,” Town Moderator Lorie McClory said.

Also approved was a $25,000 contribution to the town’s library expansion capital reserve fund.

Resident Ed Jenik said the town will need $850,000 to $900,000 to expand the library and that the town had around $364,000 set aside among reserve funds, donations and grants.

And voters also approved the town’s annual $1,000 contribution to remain a member of the Coalition Communities, which town officials estimate has saved taxpayers “hundreds of thousands of dollars a year for several years,” according to the warrant article, in opposing a “donor town” education property tax.

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