DERRY — The community got a big vote of financial support from the state, receiving money to support both schools and the town through a compromised budget agreement.
New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu made a ceremonial visit to Derry Tuesday morning with a big check in hand for $7,774,355 to support the community's schools and municipality.
Sununu greeted those attending the small ceremony at the municipal center, including town councilors, school board members, state representatives and other town officials.
He called it a great day for the town.
"And the No. 1 rule of government is to provide opportunity," Sununu said. "We are returning money and returning control back to cities and towns."
The budget compromise agreed to by both the Democrat-controlled state House and Senate and the governor gives a boost to education funding over two years through the restoration of stabilization grants to original levels.
The budget also includes $40 million in state revenue sharing to be distributed among communities like Derry to support municipalities' desire to reduce property taxes. Derry will receive nearly $1 million earmarked for municipal services.
On the school side, the state education budget boost gives Derry about $6.7 million toward its schools.
State Sen. Regina Birdsell, R-Hampstead, said the funding was due to a lot of hard work from legislators that understood the issues and what towns like Derry are facing when it comes to supporting its school system.
"Derry, this is well deserved," she said.
Sununu heralded Derry's hard work through its state legislators to gain information, make voices heard at the state level and work to make constituents and residents a priority.
"Derry reps have done a tremendous job," the governor said, "asking the tough questions, the right questions. It took a lot of folks to come together."
The governor also gave a big thank you to Derry Town Councilor Jim Morgan for his concerns about the community, and his willingness to come to Concord to get involved in budget discussions.
"Jim, you knocked it out of the park," Sununu said, adding Morgan did a great job advocating for Derry.
Sununu also said Derry is a community thinking "long term" about what comes next.
Morgan said Derry did something different, putting a combination town/school/legislative committee into place that meets regularly to hear voices from all areas involved in the town and how state legislation affects the community.
"And we worked really hard to bring some money back to Derry," Morgan said.
And looking ahead to ways to continue to stabilize Derry's taxes in the long term remains a key issue, Morgan added.
"This is one of many more to come," he said.