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Town Meeting preview: Firefighting operations dominate discussion in Haverhill

Published: 3/4/2021 6:46:37 PM
Modified: 3/4/2021 7:08:12 PM

Hot Topic: Opposition to the effort to merge Haverhill’s three fire districts into one town fire department has prompted a slew of warrant articles. The Selectboard backs an article seeking to “confirm the organizational structure” to include one volunteer fire chief appointed by the town manager.

Two other articles from the town ask if Haverhill should accept control of the Woodsville Fire Department and also create a special committee in case the Woodsville district at a future annual precinct meeting votes to secede.

Meanwhile, a petitioned article opposed by the Selectboard seeks to rescind another vote last year in which the new town department accepts control of the North Haverhill and Haverhill Corner fire departments. Three other articles, also by petition and opposed by the Selectboard, would ensure a total of about $455,000 in funding for the three fire precincts in the event town officials seek to withhold or cut funding.

Finally, yet another petitioned article seeks to remove Town Manager Brigitte Codling, who has helped push for the fire department reforms. The Selectboard unanimously opposes the article, which is advisory only.

Budget: The town is seeking approval of $4.56 million for general municipal operations. Other spending includes a three-year, $58,300 loan/lease for a new police cruiser, with $19,400 due the first year.

Noteworthy Articles: Haverhill wants to spend $230,000 for a safety study at town-owned Dean Memorial Airport and also to purchase some land or easements at the airport based on the results. The money would come from airport improvement grant funds, not local property taxes.

Contested Races: Selectboard Chairman Darwin Clogston is being challenged by Michael Graham.

When and Where: A virtual information meeting starts at 6 p.m., with public comments at 8 p.m., on Tuesday, March 9. A second virtual information meeting will be held on Thursday, March 11, at 6 p.m. Walk-through voting takes place on Saturday, March 13, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., at the Haverhill Co-operative Middle School. Absentee ballots are also available.

—John P. Gregg

Valley News

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