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Deerfield TM to vote on town, school budgets

Town Meeting voters Monday will be asked to approve a $13,692,091 budget that would cover cemetery restoration projects, school safety improvements and a new police vehicle. The annual meeting convenes at 7 p.m. in the Frontier Regional School auditorium.

Meanwhile, the budget could increase by $30,000 if townspeople vote in favor of the Frontier Regional School’s budget request — and not the selectmen’s lower recommendation.

The Frontier budget is likely to be the most controversial vote.

With 239 of 492 Frontier students, Deerfield typically has the highest tab based on the five-year enrollment average calculated in the school funding formula.

The Finance Committee and the Selectmen recommend a 3 percent overall increase to the operating budget, which would make the town’s portion $3,049,959. The Frontier School Committee is asking for $3,079,734, which is $29,775 more than what the town is willing to pay.

The overall school budget is $9,465,693, an increase of $387,466.

The fate of the school budget depends on Deerfield and Conway, who called for decreases. With the lowest school budget increases, Sunderland and Whately indicated support for the budget.

In comparison, the Deerfield Elementary School budget increased $101,517. The Finance Committee and Selectmen recommend the $4,162,209 budget with little debate.

The ambulance department budget is $279,386 with $109,386 from taxes and $170,000 from insurance fees. The sum reflects the selectmen’s decision not to back a $386,965 request by Ambulance Director Matt Russo to create a 24/7 paramedic service until the town might join a proposed regional service with Whately and Sunderland.

Other town departments have modest changes, including: $81,600 for police (an increase of $2,000 or 2.5 percent); $271,530 for the Highway Department (a decrease of $3,000).

Voters will be asked to approve capital spending including: $14,803 for three Frontier Regional School capital requests; $39,660 for a police vehicle, $24,500 for new computers and software for the police department and $2,500 for computers for the town offices; $20,000 for an ambulance replacement; $20,350 for paramedic equipment; and $27,000 for an elementary school generator.

Immediately following the annual Town Meeting will be a special Town Meeting for residents to consider a proposed zoning changes on North Main Street. According to the Planning Board proposal, 32 properties would be re-zoned from industrial or residential agricultural to central village residential district. Two properties owned by Pelican Products would be re-zoned to industrial and central village residential district.

The proposal would fix the problem that most of the properties are located on lots that are classified as pre-existing, nonconforming uses.


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