New Salem residents to weigh in on extra patrols

NEW SALEM — On the warrant for the annual town meeting Monday are a change to the town’s agreement with Wendell for the shared elementary school and money to increase police patrols.

Nancy Aldrich, town coordinator for both towns, said the change to the Swift River School agreement is intended to stop big swings in each town’s school spending.

The proposal would base each town’s share for the school on a five-year average of students sent from that town. Aldrich said the current agreement bases assessments on a single year’s enrollment, making the ratio vulnerable to sudden fluctuation.

The proposal came out of a meeting between town and school officials and was put forward for town meeting votes in both towns by the Swift River School Committee.

The change would not take effect until the start of the 2015 fiscal year in 2014.

Separate from the general police budget, $19,788 would pay for wages and equipment for two additional part-time police officers.

Police Chief Joseph Camden said residents have been asking for more police patrols, and the money would fund an additional 20 hours of patrol per week.

“We had the break-ins this year from the ‘pillow case bandits,’ and I think that’s what really motivated the residents to call,” Camden said.

The additional hours would go strictly to patrol, Camden said.

“I think what the town was looking for was to see the cruiser out on patrol more,” he said, adding an increase in firearms license applications have helped to keep officers tied up in the office.

Financial items make up the bulk of the New Salem town meeting warrant. The budget totals $2.5 million, with a total nonschool budget of $984,266 and an education budget of $1,470,789.

The Franklin County School District assessment is up 13.7 percent, to $90,858 and the Mahar Regional School assessment has increased 3 percent, to $552,388.

Also among the 38 items on the warrant for the meeting Monday at 7 p.m. in the Town Hall:

∎ $23,486, for which the voters have approved a Proposition 2½ debt exclusion, for the Mahar construction/reconstruction project.

∎ $28,500 to be used by the Highway Department for expenses related to snow removal and winter road maintenance

∎ $13,862 for which the voters of New Salem have approved a Proposition 2½ debt exclusion, for the library construction project loan payment

∎ $20,000 for the town’s retirement Liability Trust

∎ $11,500 to cover costs associated with the completion of siding the gable ends of the Fire Station

∎ $10,000 from the Capital Stabilization Fund to pay for costs associated with the purchase, repair or installation of the library building bay window

∎ $13,431 for the renovation of the Fire Department bathroom

∎ $12,500 for Fire Department breathing apparatus

∎ $50,000 for the Vehicle Replacement Stabilization Fund

∎ $15,364.77 from surplus to cover additional costs associated with snow and ice removal in this winter.

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