Budgets and contested races highlight ballots
> Over the coming weeks, Souhegan Valley voters will decide on millions of dollars’ worth of spending for their towns and schools and elect town and school officials.
Election Day for all towns and school districts is Tuesday, March 8, when those that operate under Senate Bill 2 will make their decisions.
In Amherst, there is a $450,000 bond on the warrant to buy 230 acres of conservation land between County and Spring roads.
Members of an Amherst reform group called Working for Great Schools are trying to seat a slate of candidates on the Souhegan Cooperative School Board. And Board of Selectmen incumbents are being challenged by a retired chief of police.
In Milford, a plan to spend $5.6 million on a new public library is a big issue, the second year in a row the project is on the ballot. The Budget Committee favors the plan and selectmen voted against it, saying this isn’t the right time.
Also on the Milford ballot for a second time is a non-money item to allow the town to sell earth materials – sand and gravel – from the Brox property.
A vocal group called Brox Environmental Citizens is opposed, while officials say selling gravel and other materials would give the town badly needed revenue.
Milford will also choose a town clerk for the first time in 23 years.
On the school side, two longtime Milford School Board members are being challenged by the chairman of the district’s Advisory Budget Committee, who says spending cuts are justified because the district’s revenue and enrollment numbers are dropping.
Also on the Milford School District ballot is a $3 million bond for repairs and improvements to the schools.
Mont Vernon still has Town Meeting, and on the evening of Wednesday, March 9, voters will gather to decide on the town’s $2.2 million operating budget, as well as whether to spend $50,000 for engineering and architectural studies of three municipal buildings: the McCollom Building, Town Hall and the Daland Library.
The Mont Vernon School District operates under Senate Bill 2, and Election Day voters will see a petition article for full-day kindergarten. Although the Village School is in its second year of a full-day program, the petitioners say taxpayers were never asked if they wanted to fund the program.
Wilton voters will decide about hiring a town administrator and buying a wood pellet heating system for Town Hall. Both of those changes are supported by selectmen and opposed by the Budget Committee.
For the Lyndeborough Town Meeting, there is a $1.6 million bond on the warrant for rebuilding Mountain Road and a petition article to reactivate the fire signal on Citizens’ Hall.
The Wilton-Lyndeborough Cooperative School District annual meeting will feature a $12 million operating budget that has the support of the Budget Committee and School Board.