Troy voters pass zoning ordinances

Sentinel Staff | Posted: Wednesday, March 13, 2013 12:00 pm

TROY – Voters passed five zoning ordinance amendments at the polls Tuesday, including one that would reduce new telecommunication tower heights from 200 feet to 120 feet.

The amendment, which passed 166-123, also requires visual buffering.

Another amendment, which passed 174-127, extends the time an RV may be used as an auxiliary living unit from 90 consecutive days to 180.

Three other housing-related ordinances were tweaked, including permitting conversion apartments – a one-bedroom studio apartment – in all districts by special exception. That passed 159-128.

In contested elections, Robert J. Kemp won a three-year term as selectman, with a 198-92 win over Francis Fournier Jr.

Also, Todd Carter defeated Robert Hebert for first deputy fire chief, 156-138, and Charleen Hoefsmit edged Barbara Guelcher for a three-year library trustee term, 132-111.

The elections drew 303 of the town’s 1,293 registered voters, or 23 percent.

Elected without opposition:

Janet L. McCullough, treasurer, three years; Tom Matson, zoning board, three years; Kris Lepisto, water and sewer commissioner, five years; Normand A. Dion, trustee of trust funds, three years; Ralph Heald, cemetery trustee, three years; Cynthia N. Satas, welfare administrator, one year.

Troy will hold its annual town meeting Wednesday at the elementary school.

Troy rejects SB2, police cruiser; shaves budget

By Kyle Jarvis Sentinel Staff

| Posted: Thursday, March 14, 2013 12:00 pm

TROY – Voters soundly rejected an article that would have moved the town to an official-ballot form of government at the annual town meeting Wednesday night.

About 130 residents – or 10 percent of Troy’s 1,300 registered voters – debated a 35-article town warrant for nearly five hours. While several attempts were made to trim the budget by as much as $100,000, in the end voters reduced it by $3,500, leaving the final budget figure at $1,460,805. That’s up $27,294 from last year’s budget.

Spending was the topic of the night, despite the lack of changes to the budget, as voters discussed possible cuts for the first two-and-a-half hours. And when a motion was made to move to the official-ballot proposal, added to the warrant by petition – the debate became even more spirited.

The official ballot format removes the annual town meeting from the process, instead allowing residents to vote on all articles by secret ballot. Official ballot towns instead hold deliberative sessions about a month before voting to give residents a chance to amend articles.

Anthony Chirichella, who submitted the petition article, said his time on the budget committee helped show him how many people can’t make it to town meeting.

“They would like to have a ballot vote. The deliberative session is an excellent time to show up, (because) you can still make decisions.”

Resident Todd Bergeron agreed with Chirichella. He called a vote against the official ballot “a slap in the face” to residents who are service members, elderly or disabled.

Former selectman and trustee of trust funds Aaron K. Patt defended traditional town meeting.

“Nobody goes to the budget committee meeting that’s usually held here, except for a few employees whose budgets are at stake,” he said. “This is a really precious event we’re all part of.”

Selectman William T. Matson, who recently replaced Thomas A. Walsh on the board, also decried the official-ballot format.

“Does everybody know what a red herring is?” he asked. “(The idea) that active-duty service people for some reason are concerned with how much salt Jimmy’s (Dicey, public works director) spreading on the roads, or somehow concerned with the price of trash bags … the responsibility of watching out for the hometown when a service member is deployed is up to the community, their parents and neighbors.”

Resident Richard H. Thackston 3rd said being a part of town meeting is “one of the things I’ve always been proudest of. I get the chance to come here and vote, and somebody looks me in the eye, and we all share that.”

The question was called to a paper ballot vote, after which Moderator Gary H. Sheldon announced its defeat, 82-27.

Earlier in the meeting, several attempts were made to cut the operating budget, starting with a motion from former selectman Lynda J. Cutts, who proposed a trim of $80,000.

“The main reason I did that was because we’ve got a lot of bond (payments) going away, and with the department increases, they’re trying to nickel-and-dime us,” she said during a brief break in the meeting. “I don’t know where they think we’re going to get the extra money.”

Cutts’ motion was narrowly defeated, 57-52.

Patt also made an attempt to cut the budget by $25,000.

Because Monadnock Regional School District voters changed the tax bill calculation formula Tuesday, Troy taxpayers will pay more than before, Patt said. The new formula is based on 75 percent student enrollment and 25 percent town property valuation, whereas the current formula is 50 percent enrollment and 50 percent property valuation.

“The world changed yesterday, and we need to get out in front of this,” he said Wednesday night. “My suggestion is we take out a small nibble now, and come back to some of these other budgets if we need to.”

Although Patt’s motion appeared to pass on a voice vote, it was close enough that Sheldon opted for a card count. In the end, it was defeated, 49-36.

Resident Joseph Filipi then made a motion to cut the budget by $100,000, which failed on a voice vote.

The only change to the budget came when the town’s Industrial Development Authority made a motion to trim its budget from $5,000 to $1,500, which voters approved, reducing the overall budget from $1,464,305 to $1,460,805.

Police Chief Howard M. Sheats asked voters to enter into a long-term lease-purchase agreement to acquire a 2013 Ford Interceptor police utility cruiser at a cost of $31,767. The proposal was not supported by Selectman Gideon L. Nadeau Sr.

“We have three cruisers in town, and only one is used per shift,” he said.

Sheats disagreed, saying one of the cruisers has 167,000 miles on it, meaning “if one (of the newer cruisers) gets in an accident, we’re down to one, and we have a major problem.”

Voters defeated the article, 51-36.

Voters passed over several articles entirely Wednesday night.