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Enfield budget increase is up 6%

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 2/21/2021 8:53:15 PM
Modified: 2/21/2021 8:53:13 PM

ENFIELD — Voters in Enfield will decide a contested race for Selectboard during Australian balloting voting next month. Selectboard Chairwoman Kate Stewart is running for another three-year term against Sam Eaton, who currently serves as vice chairman of the town’s Budget Committee.

Stewart, who previously served on the Mascoma Valley Regional School Board, said in an email that she views town government as an opportunity to leverage Enfield’s natural resources, history and volunteers to move the community forward. The town “does our best work when we stick together,” Stewart said, adding that she hopes to continue fostering those sentiments.

Meanwhile, Eaton pledges on his campaign website to bring a “balanced approach” to the Selectboard and touts helping to shape budgets that “ensure efficient town operations and core services, while remaining conscious of the residents in our community on fixed and limited incomes.” He also hopes to work to promote growth within the town while also preserving its character and environment.

Four people also are running for seats on the Zoning Board, with the top two votegetters winning three-year terms. Newcomers Brian Degnan, Robert West and Celie Aufiero are on the ballot while incumbent Mike Diehn is mounting a write-in campaign.

Budget

Town officials have proposed a $7.1 million budget for 2021, a 6%, or roughly $400,000, increase over last year’s spending plan. Part of that increase is attributed to the filling of three positions that were not included in last year’s budget, along with higher health care and insurance and retirement costs.

The Budget Committee estimates the spending plan would increase taxes by 43 cents per $1,000 of a property’s assessed value. That amounts to an additional $107 in taxes for a $250,000 home.

Officials partially attribute that increase to fewer non-tax revenues. Enfield received more than $200,000 in COVID-19 relief grants last year as well as a “sizable increase” in motor vehicle registrations, according to the town report. The town’s share of rooms and meals tax and state highway block grants also is anticipated to drop.

Noteworthy articles

A petitioned warrant article asks whether Enfield should maintain its town manager form of government or scrap it in favor of a town administrator. Under New Hampshire law, town manager can hire and fire, pay bills and serve as the municipality’s administrative head. By contrast town administrators work under the direct authority of the Selectboard, which retains executive, managerial and administrative powers.

Voters also will be asked to approve two articles requesting $3.8 million for improvements to the town’s water and sewer systems. Similar initiatives were shot down by voters at Town Meeting last year. Because they would allow for long-term borrowing both proposals require a 60% paper ballot vote to pass.

Other spending articles ask for $570,000 to replace a fire engine, $195,000 for a dump truck and $133,800 for upgrades to the public works facility. Those also would require 60% approval to pass.

When and where

Australian ballot voting for candidates and zoning amendments will take place from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 9, at the Enfield Community Building on Route 4.

Applications for absentee school and town ballots can be found at Enfield.nh.us/town-clerk/pages/voter-registration-elections. People with questions can contact the town clerk at townclerk@enfield.nh.us or 603-632-5001.

Because of safety concerns in the COVID-19 pandemic, the remaining warrant articles will be voted on at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 1, at Huse Park.

Tim Camerato can be reached at tcamerato@vnews.com or 603 -727-3223.




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