Mont Vernon’s town meeting is next week

MONT VERNON – Mont Vernon is one of only three Souhegan Valley towns that still operate under the traditional town meeting form of government, and town meeting 2019 will be held on Wednesday, March 13, at 7 p.m. in the Village School.

One article that could spark discussion is asks for $25,000 for more site assessment for a new Daland library, a project that was supported by voters last March when they approved several warrant articles that set in motion plans to build a new library on town-owned land on Grand Hill Road.

This year, the select board, but not the budget committee, approved the article, and library trustee Cindy Raspiller, said in an email that she was “a little surprised to see that the budget committee is not also supporting Warrant Article 05, because they were very supportive at the budget hearing.”

The misunderstanding, she said, seems to be with the word “architectural,” in the article, which doesn’t mean additional building design work, “but to better understand some of the quirks of the site (wetlands, ledge) in order to finalize the site layout to identify exactly where the building, access road, septic system and parking lots will be.

“This will allow us to tighten up the project cost estimate by addressing some of the unknowns that are currently reflected as contingencies,” she said in an email.

“Once the engineering work is done, we expect to revisit the cost estimate with DSK, the project architect. I’m sure we could probably debate whether revising the cost estimate is truly “architectural work”. We hope to be able to explain to the voters that updating the cost estimate to better support future fundraising activities is an important part of the planned 2019 work.

Also on the warrant for the March 13 meeting is $580,000 to lease-purchase a new fire truck over 10 years, with the $75,000 down payment coming from the fire truck capital reserve. A two-thirds ballot vote is required, and both the selectmen and budget committee are opposed to the purchase. Selectmen and the budget committee also declined to approve the addition of $75,000 to a fire truck capital reserve account.

Other warrant articles:

• $12,000 to reconstruct Carleton Pond and the surrounding park. Both the selectmen and budget committee recommend it.

• A $2.5 million operating budget that has the OK of both selectmen and the budget committee.

• $50,000 to repair and maintain town buildings. Selectmen approve, but the budget committee voted no.

• A $26,117 petition article for the town clerk’s salary. This article got a no vote from both the select board and budget committee.

The election of town and school officers and all ballot questions will be voted on election day, Tuesday, March 12, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the Village School.

Lyndeborough and Wilton are the other town with traditional town meetings. Lydeborough’s is set for Saturday, March 16, at 10 a.m. in Citizens’ Hall. Wilton’s is Thursday, March 14, at 7 p.m. at the Florence Rideout School.

Kathy Cleveland may be reached at 673-3100 or kcleveland@cabinet.com.

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