Plainfield Voters approve $2.16M budget, salary increases, and road grader

For the Gazette
Saturday, May 05, 2018

PLAINFIELD — Voters on Saturday afternoon passed a $2,16 million budget and approved a 2.5 percent cost of living increase for the town’s 14 employees, as well as the purchase of a $220,000 road grader at the annual Town Meeting.

Finance Committee Chairman Lew Robbins said that there had been some controversy at the 2017 Town Meeting over raises for some employees, as well as questions regarding the level at which town positions were funded.

He said that as well as giving equal, across-the-board raises this year, the town has also hired the consulting services of DIJ management. DIJ is producing a study that will help Plainfield bring compensation for town positions more in line with the surrounding towns and make things more “equitable and competitive.”

Robbins said that the study will be coming out this fall.

While the town approved spending up to $220,000 on a road grader, Highway Department Supervisor Mert Taylor said that he was hoping to find a used grader that might not cost the town the full amount approved.

“Everything on the grader we have now is totally worn out,” Taylor said. “I think I could get 10 to 15 years out of a decent used grader.”

Voters also said yes to seven new self-contained breathing apparatus for the fire department.

Assistant Fire Chief Dave Alvord told those gathered that most of SCBAs currently owned by the fire department are 15 years old, five years past their expiration date, adding that the department did manage to purchase five units through a grant last year.

“We have 18 firefighters and we will have 12 SCBAs if this article passes,” Alvord said. “I’m not going to put my firefighters’ lives in danger without this essential equipment.”

$50,000 to repair the roof of the highway garage was also approved.

“That building was built in 1965 and we are putting a lot of effort into it,” Alvord said, speaking as a member of the Building Committee. “The roof has had a lot of leak repairs in the last years we would rather replace the roof than replace the whole building.”

Voters further approved using $80,000 of free cash in order to reduce the tax rate for 2019.

By an overwhelming majority, voters past a nonbinding resolution that calls on the United States to lead a global effort to prevent nuclear war by renouncing the option of using nuclear weapons first, ending the president’s sole, unchecked authority to launch a nuclear attack, taking U.S. nuclear weapons off hair-trigger alert and pursuing a verifiable agreement among nuclear-armed states to eliminate their nuclear arsenals.