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Medical Marijuana

Conway OKs $4.7M budget

CONWAY — Voters have approved a $4.7 million budget for 2014, as well as $175,000 to develop plans and help fund construction of a new highway garage, and have placed a moratorium on the establishment of medical marijuana growing centers.

At least 200 gathered earlier this week at Town Meeting to vote on those and other issues facing Conway next year.

It took about 45 minutes for townspeople to pass next year’s operating budget, which included reducing the town administrator’s budget by $9,360.

Voters decided that since they have a full-time town administrator now, the town doesn’t need to hire a part-time person to help with paperwork.

The new budget also includes an increase from what selectmen and the town’s Finance Committee had recommended to Frontier Regional School and Conway Grammar School.

They recommended Frontier receive $989,074, but townspeople voted to give the school what it asked for, which was $1,008,832, or $19,758 more.

Selectmen and the committee also had recommended that the grammar school receive $1,544,217 next year, but voters disagreed and gave the school $1,551,638, which was what school officials had asked for.

The grammar school also received $25,000 for maintenance and repairs, while Frontier got the $17,242 it asked for safety and security updates, electrical improvements, replacement of a 13-year-old pickup truck, and a student transport van.

Townspeople voted $10,000 for the town’s 250th anniversary celebration, and $15,000 to improve the town’s computer technology and network.

The town’s highway department will be replacing its backhoe with a mini excavator and trailer thanks to voters, who approved $80,000 for the switch.

Voters also decided to send a ballot question to all town voters asking if they’d like to increase the surcharge for the Community Preservation Act from 1.5 percent to 3 percent.

The town will also be able to buy a paper compactor for the transfers station with the $24,000 that was approved for it.

What voters didn’t vote for was $17,000 to purchase and install a remote digital LED bulletin board with text and animation capabilities.

Selectmen and the Finance Committee had recommended against the request submitted by the Planning Board.

Those who spoke against the board, before the vote was taken, said it didn’t “fit” into the rural, small-town atmosphere of the town.

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