PLAISTOW — The Timberlane Regional School District’s athletic programs could see a boost in this year’s budget.
Residents voted 41-34 to add $150,000 to the town’s proposed operating budget at the district’s deliberative session last night.
Atkinson resident Jack St. Pierre proposed the amendment with an eye toward improving athletic facilities.
“I think we owe it to the students to support them with the best of facilities we possibly can,” he said. “There’s a number of assets we can throw at this problem with $150,000.”
St. Pierre specifically mentioned the money could be used for a three-wheel John Deere mower to groom baseball fields.
“What would formerly take a whole day to do by a crew, could now take five minutes,” he said.
He also mentioned replacing the bleachers on playing fields.
The money added to the budget is not obligated to be spent on athletic facilities but Superintendent Dr. Earl Metzler said he would honor the amendment’s intention.
“I think dragging the fields is important in terms of respect for our athletes,” Metzler said. “If that passes, I can guarantee that we will use those funds in the spirit to which they were added to the bottom line.”
The increase to the now $64.4 million proposed budget pushed it $3,747 higher than the default budget. Residents will vote on the budget at Town Meeting on March 12.
St. Pierre also proposed a $75,000 addition to the budget for the installation of batting cages. That amendment was voted down 26-48.
Chris Russell of Plaistow was among the residents who spoke out against adding the money to the budget.
“I’m not opposed to improving our fields or equipment,” she said. “But I don’t think throwing money at the bottom line is the way to do it. I think the way to do it is to evaluate the budget during the review process and look at where the current athletic budget is going.”