LONDONDERRY — A warrant article asking voters to approve bringing keno games to town will once again appear on this year's town ballot.
A citizen petitioned warrant article supporting keno makes up a list of town articles that will face voters, along with a proposed $37,616,176 town operating budget.
At a public budget hearing Jan. 20, town councilors read every article and then heard input from the public about money requested for various town projects and programs.
The list of articles includes $265,553 to be received from the state, highway grant money, to use for reconstruction projects in Londonderry; $650,000 to be placed in the Roadway Maintenance Expendable Trust Fund; $28,000 for geographic information systems capital reserve fund to be used toward the town's five-year flyover schedule for detailing the community's properties and landscape.
Another article supports the expansion of the Pillsbury Cemetery, asking voters to approve $75,000 to be placed in a cemetery capital fund.
Administrative Support Coordinator Steve Cotton said the 3-acre Pillsbury expansion plan will add 625 plots to the town's cemetery property. This is the only cemetery remaining of the eight in town with space remaining.
"It's the only cemetery we have in town with any growth potential," Cotton said.
Another article asks voters to approve $265,000 to pave the Town Hall parking lot, with funding to be taken from the town's unassigned fund balance with no tax impact to voters.
There are also five union contracts on the town's warrant.
Town Manager Kevin Smith said all five were set to expire in June of this year.
"We are happy to be able to reach agreements with all five unions on these contracts," Smith said.
The keno article is one of two petitioned articles making the ballot this year. Last year, a similar keno article lost by only 32 votes.
That final tally came after a recount of votes was requested after original released vote totals were deemed incorrect by town officials due to a spread sheet error.
Keno is a game of chance available at bars and restaurants and controlled by the Lottery Commission. Only businesses with active liquor pouring licenses would be eligible to install a keno lottery machine.
Gov. Chris Sununu signed a proposal in 2017 allowing money raised from keno to be a revenue source to support full-day kindergarten programs in the state. He left it up to individual communities to decide whether to allow it.
Londonderry will once again attempt to approve the measure, after several area communities agreed to bring the games to town after voters' approval including Derry and Windham.
A second citizens petitioned article deals with a resolution to take action on climate pollution directing, if approved, the Town Council to send written notice to Londonderry's state legislators, the governor, congressional delegation and President Donald Trump, saying the town calls upon its elected state and federal officials to enact carbon-pricing legislation in the form of a carbon fee and dividend approach and a carbon cashback program to protect the state from the costs and environmental risks of continued climate inaction.
Town Council Chairman John Farrell urged finance officials to join with the cable department to produce brief videos that could explain some of the warrant articles and what they mean.
"Explain to people what we are doing and why we are doing it," Farrell said.
Londonderry residents will be able to hear more about the proposed town budget and warrant articles at the annual deliberative session set for Saturday, Feb. 8, 9 a.m. at the Londonderry High School cafeteria.
Voting day in Londonderry is Tuesday, March 10. Polls are open at the high school gymnasium from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.