Voters in Manchester’s Ward Five elected Tony Sapienza to represent them on the Board of Aldermen by an overwhelming majority yesterday. Sapienza received two hundred thirteen votes or sixty one percent of the tally. Incumbent School Board Member and State Rep. Ted Rokas received seventy one votes, or just over twenty percent of the vote. Eagle Eyes neighborhood watch founder Cheryl Mitchell garnered thirty five votes, Richard Olson got nineteen and former State Rep. Tim O’Flaherty received ten.
In Hooksett’s elections, Adam Jennings and Marc Miville won seats on the Town Council and Sewer Commissioner Frank Katoski was reelected over former School Board Member David Pearl. Looks like there were a whole lot of write in votes cast for seats that had no contestants, including Town Council in District One and four seats on the Budget Committee. Those results will be announced today. Every warrant article on the ballot passed, including the question on the Library, adding a firefighter and OOOHHH sooo much more! Turn out was around four hundred fifty voters.
Timberlane Regional School Board Chairman Nancy Steenson has granted the plebes from the Danville Board of Selectmen time on the May twenty first meeting agenda to discuss their request for information on students from their town. The board had requested the information as part of an update to Danville’s impact fee ordinance. In denying the board’s original request to appear, Steenson suggested the selectmen use the three minutes allowed members of the public during the comment section of their agenda to present their information. It appears as if they did and their information pleased Her Majesty, who has not only now invited them back, but scheduled a whole ten minutes of time to discuss the topic in general, something that School Board Member Donna Green requested after hearing from Danville’s selectmen. She said Sandown, which she represents on the school board, will likely need the same information for work they’re doing to update their impact fees.
On a related note, the Hampstead School District, which is Timberlane’s counterpart in S A U 5 5, which means their superintendent is the one and only Earl F. Metzler, II will consider leaving the S A U at its next meeting. According to a blog post from Donna Green, at Tuesday night’s meeting of the Hampstead School Board, Hampstead’s Board of Selectman Chairman Sean Murphy of called for the school board to consider withdrawing. Apparently, he’s not happy that Metzler’s not providing minutes for the Hampstead School District Facilities Committee meetings. He was told they aren’t available because the committee is one of Metzler’s super special “advisory” committees they claim are not subject to the state’s Right to Know Law. Towards the end of the meeting, school board member Jaye Dimando asked for this to be put on the next school board agenda, seconded by Karen Yasenka.
News from our own backyard continues after this.
Well, things weren’t quite the disaster predicted for last night’s meeting of the Derry Town Council. We were on hand for the special meeting called by Council Chair Thomas Cardon to quote “provide each Councilor an opportunity to present his/her intentions regarding the Fiscal Year two thousand sixteen budget for each Town department, in a public non-binding discussion.” The night started with an oddly friendly warning by Cardon to the roughly fifty people assembled in the audience to refrain from applauding or otherwise disrupting the meeting, saying he would not hesitate to ask people to leave given what’s transpired in past meetings. Public comment would not be allowed he said, as the meeting was an opportunity for the councilors to share their thoughts, which they did in a rather thoughtful way.
It became evident it was not a great night for Town Administrator Galen Stearns as the councilor’s shared their thoughts. His proposal to use one point seven million dollars in town reserves to buy down the tax rate was universally panned, as was his proposal to shift water hydrant fees from the fire department budget to water utility rate payers. Councilor’s David Fischer and Albert Dimmock, and Cardon to a lesser degree, decried the use of scare tactics to incite the public, saying cuts to the Library and road resurfacing, among others, were never proposed or requested by the council. Fischer said the point of coming up with a targeted amount to reduce the tax rate was to task the the departments with finding out how things could be better done to save money and that the time used to raise fear instead was a total waste.
Councilor Mark Osborne seized on that point in his comments as he gave a bit of a civics lesson on how town government’s supposed to work. “Whether you think we’re bastards or saints, we are here to make decisions,” he said. In outline who is responsible to whom and targeting the oft raised issue of transparency, Osborne pointed out that the town administrator is there to take direction from the town council, not the department heads. Was it transparent for the administrator and the department heads, to whom he referred as the White Shirt Brigades, to make back room deals that demanded a level funded budget instead of the one requested by the council, he asked. Where’s the transparency in not telling the council that the proposed budget funded pay raises for employees whose union contracts had expired, he wondered as he defended the very open and public process the council has gone through to deliberate the budget.
Councilor Richard Tripp argued that Derry doesn’t have a spending problem, it has a valuation problem, agreeing the town needed to lower its tax rate, but essentially arguing it needed to do it primarily by improving its tax base. It really was among the more interesting meetings I’ve been to in a while and we chronicled it all in our Live Blog Fourm under the Oh My BLOG! tab at Girard at Large dot com and linked to it from this news read. Frankly, all sides acquitted themselves pretty well and there seemed to be agreement on what they would not do. It’ll be interesting to see what they do do at their May nineteenth meeting when they’ll make their motions and cast their votes on the budget.
That’s news from our own backyard, Girard at Large hour ___ is next.