Atkinson Town Hall

Atkinson Town Hall
The Norman Rockwellian picture of Atkinson

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Welcome Message and Mission Statement

Welcome to the NEW Atkinson Reporter! Under new management, with new resolve.

The purpose of this Blog is to pick up where the Atkinson Reporter has left off. "The King is dead, Long live the King!" This Blog is a forum for the discussion of predominantly Atkinson; Officials, People, Ideas, and Events. You may give opinion, fact, or evaluation, but ad hominem personal attacks will not be tolerated, or published. The conversation begun on the Atkinson Reporter MUST be continued!

This Blog will not fall to outside hacks from anyone, especially insecure public officials afraid of their constituents criticism.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Timberlane voters quickly dispense of school budget matters

From the Eagle Tribune;

February 11, 2011
Timberlane voters quickly dispense of school budget matters

By Doug Ireland The Eagle Tribune Fri Feb 11, 2011, 12:58 AM EST

PLAISTOW — School district voters made quick work of the proposed budget and other spending proposals last night, plowing through a list of warrant articles in less than 40 minutes.

Nearly 100 people turned out at the Timberlane Performing Arts Center to consider articles that included the proposed $62.4 million school budget and a $300,000 plan to renovate the Pollard School kitchen.

Despite the large crowd, only a few voters stepped to the podium during the annual deliberative session to ask questions about the articles, including Kate Russell of Danville.

Russell asked school officials where the district would cut seven positions that Budget Committee Chairwoman Michelle O'Neil said would be eliminated. O'Neil gave a brief presentation on the proposed budget before the discussion began.

Superintendent Richard La Salle outlined the cuts, which include a custodian, two support staff positions, and also teaching jobs at the elementary schools.

A declining number of elementary school students means fewer teachers are needed, La Salle said. The superintendent also presented the proposal to spend $300,000 on renovating the Pollard School kitchen.

When the district began renovating its buildings several years ago, the kitchens were never upgraded, La Salle said.

"During the renovations, one of the areas in the schools that was not addressed was the kitchens," he said. As a result, they are inefficient and do not meet code.

The district is now making the upgrades a priority, renovating the Atkinson Academy kitchen last summer and the Danville Elementary School kitchen two years ago.

The $300,000 would come from a capital reserve fund.

Although no one voiced their opinion on the article, resident Martha Fowler questioned how much money was in the fund.

"It would essentially use the money that is there," La Salle said of the renovation project.

The capital reserve fund contains a little more than $300,000 and would be replenished through another article that asks voters to add $200,000, the superintendent said.

There were no public comments on that article as well.

The $62,437,055 operating budget outlined by O'Neil is a decrease of less than 1 percent compared with the previous budget. The default budget is $62,708,119.

All five articles were quickly approved and sent to the March ballot after little or no discussion.

As one resident approached the podium, longtime town and Timberlane moderator Barry Sargent said the meeting was one of the shortest in memory.

"It is the quickest one I've had in 20 years," he said.

Perhaps it had something to do with the upcoming tipoff between the Celtics and Lakers, with Boston star Ray Allen looking to beat the NBA record for making three-point shots.

"Not to mention the Lakers and Celtics start in less than an hour — make it quick," Sargent joked.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

39 people effectively add over $250,000 in fluff to the Town budget.

If we let it pass the ballot!

From the Eagle Tribune;

February 6, 2011
Voters approve article calling for land purchase

By Jillian Jorgensen The Eagle Tribune Sun Feb 06, 2011, 12:03 AM EST

ATKINSON — Residents will have a chance to vote on purchasing land in the town center at the polls this March.

The proposal to buy less than an acre of open space for $161,000 was moved on to the ballot at the town's deliberative session yesterday, along with everything from an amended operating budget, to new generators, to a new roof at the fire station.

The article asking voters to purchase the .83 acres of land across from the library was amended yesterday. The land was originally slated to be used only for open-air activities, with "all future construction limited to a gazebo or bandstand and restroom facilities."

But Selectman William Bennett suggested an amendment that added "until 2021" to the end of the article, restricting the use for just 10 years. Several people had expressed reservations about buying the land and using it only as open space, saying future needs for the property could change.

Resident Carol Grant spoke about past land purchases in town where property went unused for years, but later became town recreation areas, the Fire Department and the current Town Hall.

"I would just ask that the townspeople look to the future," she said.

But others took issue with the cost, which they said was above market value. An amendment would have lowered the amount raised by the warrant article to $130,000, but it failed.

Bennett said he had spoken to the landowner, and said he might be willing to sell for $160,000, but not $130,000.

Residents also moved forward an article asking voters to spend $12,500 to irrigate baseball fields at Woodlock Park. An amendment proposing to ask for donations for the sprinkler system, rather than raising money for it, failed.

Other items moved to the ballot included a new $50,000 generator for the library, half funded by a donation and half by money in the library trust fund, which voters will be asked to dissolve; a new fire vehicle for $40,000; and road improvements on Hovey Meadow Road, Hoyt Circle and Merrill Drive