EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

February 5, 2013

Londonderry residents hear town budget details

By Julie Huss
jhuss@eagletribune.com

---- — LONDONDERRY — The town’s annual deliberative session last night did not draw a large crowd, but those attending were passionate about wanting to keep their children safe.

Residents lined up to speak about whether the town needed one more school resource officer at a cost of $101,000.

It was one of 14 articles discussed for more than two hours at the session at Londonderry High School. All articles were moved to the March ballot.

Only about 90 of the town’s more than 15,941 voters attended the meeting to also hear details about a proposed $27.5 million operating budget for next year and articles including a $500,000 article for a roadway maintenance fund and $20,000 for a zoning ordinance audit.

The bulk of the two-hour meeting centered around the idea of adding a second school resource officer.

School Board member Nancy Hendricks supported the article.

“I’m glad to see a school resource officer on the warrant this year,” she said. “I certainly intend to support it. They see things parents may not see and create a bond with students that is very important.”

School superintendent Nate Greenberg said schools in town have had a police presence for more than 20 years.

“There are custodial, truancy, and drug and alcohol issues,” he said. “It’s a program that has been in place and very supportive of the schools and the kids.”

Other articles moving to the March ballot include a $2.6 million article for a sewer fund balance. This article would have not affect taxes, as money would be raised through user fees.

Voters also backed an article calling for $400,000 to be put in a capital reserve fund to replace ambulances, highway trucks and fire vehicles, and another article will take $100,000 from the towns’ fund balance to establish a capital reserve fund for the cable department.

A petitioned article asking taxpayers to spend $227,000 to pave a one-mile portion of the town’s rail trail system will also appear on the March ballot.

In addition to the town’s business, officials honored many volunteers serving on various boards for their years of service.

Bob Sauer was also named Volunteer of the Year and Londonderry High School teacher Steve Juster was named the town’s top citizen.

Chief Kevin MacCaffrie was also recognized for his years of service to the Londonderry Fire Department. He will retire March 1.