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During Londonderry's Town Meeting on Saturday are front, left, to right, Chet and Marilyn Ham, Londonderry's town historian, raising their hands to vote in support of Article 12, for the resassembly of a historic home at the Morrison House Museum land in the Historic District on Pillsbury Road.

LONDONDERRY | Voters approved three of the five union contracts before them at the annual Town Meeting on Saturday.

The more than 250 voters in attendance approved new contracts for police officers, executive employees and public works employees and town office staff, while rejecting agreements with firefighters and administrative employees.

The Town Council and Budget Committee had unanimously rejected the firefighters' contract for several reasons, including a health insurance buyback policy and a proposal to decrease a firefighter's work week from 48 hours to 42 hours while raising their pay.

"If you want to reduce your work week by six hours it's got to be done much more gradually than one or two years," resident Robert LeBreux said.

LeBreux and several other residents felt it was unreasonable for the firefighters' salary to increase while they would be working fewer hours. The increase in firefighters' salaries would amount to about 12.5 percent per employee, according to Town Councilor Brian Farmer.

Although the insurance buyback policy was ultimately approved in the police union and town employees contracts, several residents and Budget Committee members expressed concern about allowing employees to be reimbursed for not taking an insurance policy through the town. The contracts allowed employees to receive a check for several thousand dollars, while the teacher's union has a similar deal in its contract and only receives $500 checks.

"Why isn't a teacher as good as someone on the town side?" Republican state Rep. Al Baldasaro asked.

But many residents supported the buyback, saying it was cheaper for the town to pay the buyback to employees than to pay their entire insurance policy.

A petition to spend $187,410 for the final payment on a fire truck purchased at last year's Town Meeting was amended so it will not affect this year's tax rate. Instead of raising $160,000 in property taxes for the truck, the money will come from funds the town has set aside.

"It only makes sense to use this money to lower our tax rate," resident Mary Wing Soares said.



The following is a rundown of all of the articles voted on at Saturday's Town Meeting:



Article 5, to add $2.5 million to special revenue accounts for sewer fees, cable franchise fee and outside police detail payments: passed

Article 6, to establish a $2.3 million trust fund for airport security to be funded by the airport: passed

Article 7, to raise $205,000 for a trust fund to repair and maintain town facilities: passed

Article 8, to act on the town operating budget of $24,790,539: passed

Article 9, to place $130,000 in a capital reserve fund to replace ambulances, highway trucks and fire trucks: passed

Article 10, to spend $187,410 for the final lease payment for fire equipment: passed

Article 11, to spend $168,756 for furnishings and communications equipment for the proposed North/West fire substation replacement. (This article was contingent on passage of Article 2, a $1.8 bond for constructing the substation. Article 2 was defeated Tuesday.) : failed

Article 12, to spend $100,000 from surplus to reassemble a circa 1725 saltbox house at the Morrison House Museum: passed

Article 13, to spend $115,000 from surplus to replace the Fire Department dispatch center's software: passed

Article 14, to approve three-year contract between the town and the police union: passed

Article 15, to approve three-year contract between the town and the Londonderry Executive Employees Association: passed

Article 16, to ratify fact-finder report on the collective bargaining agreement between the town and the union representing clerks and public works employees: failed

Article 17, to ratify a collective bargaining agreement between the town and the clerks and public works union: passed

Article 18, to ratify a fact-finder report on the collective bargaining agreement between the town and the Londonderry Administrative Employees Association: failed

Article 19, to ratify a fact-finder report on the collective bargaining agreement between the town and firefighters: failed

Article 20, to raise $200,000 for highway reconstruction. (This was an alternative to Article 4, the $1.2 million highway reconstruction bond, which was approved Tuesday: failed

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