LONDONDERRY — There were plenty of empty seats at the town deliberative session Saturday.
Just 71 of the town’s 15,944 registered voters showed up. That’s less than 1 percent.
Those who did attend the session at Londonderry High School heard details on the town’s proposed $28 million operating budget.
They also listened to presentations about the warrant articles, including a $2.6 million plan for construction, maintenance and operation of newly constructed sewer systems; $180,000 to upgrade the town’s aging highway department garage; and $275,000 to be placed in maintenance trust fund for road replacements and improvements.
The proposed town operating budget for next year is $33,000 under the default budget and a 1.6 percent increase over the current year’s number, Town Manager Kevin Smith.
In addition, voters will consider a new one-year collective bargaining agreement between the town and the police department union, calling for a 1.8 percent cost of living pay increase for fiscal year 2015.
One article drawing much discussion was to ask voters to separate the town clerk/tax collector job into two separate positions.
If that article passes at the polls next month, the town could save approximately $110,000, according to Smith.
“If approved, this article would make the town clerk a part-time position with no benefits and then an appointed tax collector would be dictated by the town manager,” Smith said. “The town clerk would be a limited position doing dog tags and vital statistics, and other work would continue to be absorbed by others in that office.”
A single person now holds the town clerk/tax collector’s job, elected by voters every two years.
Not everyone thought making the job two separate entities was a good idea.
“This would be a disadvantage to all citizens of Londonderry,” resident Pauline Caron said. “I encourage you to vote against this article.”