Lyndeborough voters OK operating budget

LYNDEBOROUGH – Voters on Saturday, March 14, approved an operating budget of $2,165.071, an increase of about $25,000 over last year. They also decided it was time to replace the Fire Department’s 1984 pumper, make several safety improvements to the fire station, and purchase a new police cruiser.

Also approved was a new capital reserve fund to cover emergency repairs to town buildings. A similar request was voted down last year, after which the heating and ventilation systems at Citizens’ Hall broke down.

About 50 people attended the meeting at Citizens’ Hall.

The budget is “essentially flat,” Budget Committee Chairman Burton Reynolds said, “but this is one of those years when there is an extra pay period, about $25,000.”

Selectmen expect to dispose of two vehicles which should “cover that amount.”

An amendment was offered to add $5,000 for highway equipment training but was defeated. Road Agent Mark Chase said such training is already required.

Fire Chief Brian Smith described the old pumper as “unique, a ten-speed, very interesting to drive, and unreliable.” It will be replaced using a grant from the Department of Environmental Services which is trying to remove such high-polluting vehicles from service.

The Fire Department will get a new vehicle exhaust removal system for the station and a specialized washing machine for cleaning turn-out gear after exposure to hazardous materials. That machine will be at the town garage. “It will extend the life of our gear,” Smith said. “And it’s a safety issue.”

The fire department radios will also be upgraded. “They’re 15 years old and can’t get repaired,” Smith said. He has applied for a grant.

The Highway Department will trade their 2008 Volvo dump truck for a 2020 Freightliner. Road Agent said the Volvo “has been a nightmare.” Since its equipment won’t fit the new one, a plow and sander are included. There is $140,000 in a capital reserve fund.

Contributions were made to capital reserve funds for two highway trucks and a back hoe.

A “sense of the meeting” was asked for concerning closing the Recycling Center on Sundays but keeping it open longer some evenings. A majority agreed to the closure.

On Tuesday, March 10, voters approved updating the town’s building codes which date to 1987, updated in 1999 and 2005.