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New Salem considers old and new roads, cruisers Monday

NEW SALEM — Residents will be asked to consider buying a new police car, pay for the work of repairing town roads after a bad winter and accept responsibility for a new town road.

These are among other items on the agenda for the annual town meeting Monday at 7 p.m. in the Town Hall.

The largest new purchase on the agenda is a cruiser, $38,650. Last year’s annual town meeting appropriated $50,000 toward a savings fund for such expenses, an appropriation they will be asked to repeat this year.

Voters will also be asked to pay for a second year with two extra part-time police officers, an expense first approved last year and now down $3,777 to $16,011. Police Chief Joseph Camden last year said residents had requested increased patrols in response to burglaries in the region, and he was tied up in the office due to a simultaneous uptick in gun license applications.

Highway Department requests for winter cleanup and repair total $44,000, $28,500 for snow removal and winter road maintenance in the coming year and $15,500 to cover additional costs from the current fiscal year.

In other possible road work, the final article on the agenda asks the town to accept Stone Hill Road, a private dead-end road off North Main Street, as a town road and appropriate $3,500 toward layout. Town Coordinator Nancy Aldrich said the item was placed on the warrant by citizen petition, primarily by residents of the private road, and is not supported by the Selectboard or the Finance Committee. Aldrich said the town already plows the road, but residents are responsible for bringing in gravel and smoothing the surface for plowing every year, and the committees are not so much opposed to adopting the road as the means taken to pursue that end — going directly to town meeting.

The overall operating budget totals $2,558,451, up 4.2 percent from this year. The majority of the budget goes to the town’s share of the Swift River Elementary School, Ralph C. Mahar Regional School and Franklin County Technical School.

The schools item totals $1,541,003, the general government, public safety, highway and other expenses of the town run to $1,017,448.

In the sole item of the evening with no money attached, voters will be asked to approve an amendment to the Wendell-New Salem school agreement to require at least three representatives from each town for a school committee quorum.

The remainder of the agenda deals primarily with ongoing loan payments, totalling 102,765 for school and town building projects, highway and fire trucks. Also on the agenda are a number of smaller occasional or one-time expenses, including:

∎ $25,000 for the town retiree health care fund.

∎ $5,600 for a cost-of-living raise for non-elected town employees.

∎ $4,000 for turnout gear for two new firefighters.

∎ $3,025 for Fire Department signs.

∎ $2,500 for the town share of the Fire Chief’s vehicle lights and radios.

∎ $2,000 for two police radios.

∎ $5,075 for New Salem’s share of Swift River capital requests.

∎ $7,500 for a technology and tech services fund.

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