EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

March 12, 2013

N.H. voters face big decisions today

Polls are open throughout New Hampshire

By Alex Lippa
alippa@eagletribune.com

---- — More than 80 percent of Windham voters cast ballots in November. Town Clerk Nicole Merrill doesn’t expect to see a turnout like that today, but does hope for more than the usual 15 to 20 percent.

Thanks to one big-money article, Merrill said she expects to see more of the 9,964 registered voters than usual.

Windham voters are deciding on the most expensive warrant article in the region, a new $31 million middle school.

The school would be located near Windham High School on London Bridge Road to serve seventh- and eighth-graders. It would open in 2015 if voters approve it today. The article requires three-fifths approval for passage.

“We want every citizen to be involved,” Merrill said. “But, this year, we would imagine that we will have a larger turnout than usual.”

 

Voters there also will elect a selectman today. Al Letizio and Alan Carpenter are battling for a three-year term.

There are big issues in other towns, too.

While it is a non-binding vote, a warrant article in Salem could affect the entire region. Voters will let the town know if they are in favor of a casino at Rockingham Park. Sen. Chuck Morse, R-Salem, has said a casino would generate millions of dollars for Salem and the surrounding communities.

Town Clerk Susan Wall said the town is preparing for an extra influx of voters this year because of the casino question.

“We have never given away so many sample ballots,” she said. “We have extra people working the polls and ordered extra polling booths this year.”

Wall said between 2,500 and 3,000 of the town’s approximately 24,000 registered voters turn out at Town Meeting each year. This year, she is expecting upward of 4,000 voters.

Salem voters also are deciding whether to OK $17 million in renovations to three of the town’s elementary schools. Last year, voters rejected $21.5 million worth of renovations to the same schools.

 

Two towns are deciding whether to build new police stations.

It’s the fifth try for Hampstead. The town is asking voters to fund a $1.6 million station in just one year. Approval would be by simple majority.

Sandown voters are deciding whether to build a $945,000 station.

In Pelham, school district needs are at the forefront of the vote. Voters must decide whether to spend $1.7 million to add kindergarten classrooms to Pelham Elementary School. They are also deciding on a nearly $900,000 renovation to Town Hall for offices for School Administrative Unit 26 officials.

Londonderry voters will be asked to spend $101,000 for a second school resource officer.

In Derry, voters will weigh in on an $81.4 million school district budget. Voters at deliberative session restored $800,000 to the budget.

Two water questions face Plaistow voters. The town is asking for $400,000 to extend a waterline on Route 125 and $30,000 for a feasibility study for a public water supply. Incumbent Selectman John Sherman is being challenged by Joyce Ingerson and Bruce Skofield for a three-year term.

Atkinson voters could allow bow hunting in the town forest to cut down the deer population. They also will elect a selectman. Incumbent Selectman Fred Childs faces a challenge from William Baldwin and Craig Schuster for a three-year term.

Newton voters are deciding whether to increase the size of the Board of Selectmen from three to five. Incumbent Selectman Trisha McCarthy and former selectman Robert Donovan are vying for a three-year seat.

It’s all about animal control in Danville. Voters last year approved making the animal control officer an elected position — after selectmen eliminated the job. Former ACO Sheila Johannesen is running against Selectman Michelle Cooper for the job. But selectmen also are asking voters to eliminate the job — again.

Kingston residents are being asked to spend $150,000 to repair the historic Grace Daley House. If that article is defeated, voters also are being asked to OK razing the structure.