No changes to warrant articles at Merrimack deliberative session

Several dozen voters gathered at James Mastricola Elementary School on Wednesday, March 12, to participate in the town’s deliberative session, which ended without any amendments.

As a result, all four of Merrimack’s warrant articles for 2014 will move to the ballot unchanged when residents vote April 8.

Article 2, which will propose extensive renovations to the town’s highway garage, was met with no opposition at the session.

Town Manager Eileen Cabanel previously said the price of the current proposed garage, $3.3 million, is far less expensive than the $8.7 million price tag attached to an “oversized” garage proposed by an architectural firm.

Paul Micali, Merrimack’s finance director, has said he thinks it’s about time for the renovations.

“It’s a No. 1 priority for us,” Micali said. “The Town Council has looked at all the infrastructure needs of the community. … This has come up the last two years as one of the most important projects.”

If the improvements to the town garage are approved, Cabanel said the impact would add about 13 cents to the tax rate. The article, unanimously recommended by the town councillors, will need two-thirds ballot approval to pass.

Article 3 of the draft warrant is the town’s proposed operating budget, which is $31,979,257. If that number is not approved by Merrimack’s voters, the default budget is more than $4 million less, at $27,892,458.

Article 4, a proposal to raise $10,000 for a Geographic Information System Reserve Fund, also received virtually no opposition, although Town Councilor Dan Dwyer suggested any new technology purchased by the town could be bought at a discounted rate in several years, as prices decrease.

The last article, a proposed $5,000 for reimbursement education training for dispatchers and support staff, drew no questions from the audience.

The deliberative session was adjourned by 8 p.m. Wednesday, only an hour after the session opened at 7 p.m.

Bradford Randall can be reached at 594-6557 or Also, follow Randall on Twitter (@telegraph_bradr).