Sandown Budget Increases Set to Go to Committee

SANDOWN – The board of selectmen finished some of the last major budgets of the season Monday night, including wrapping up the two big accounts under its control, the executive and government buildings budgets.

The government buildings account often receives a lot of attention, as it’s where any building maintenance or improvement projects fall. This year, town manager Lynne Blaisdell again compiled a list of projects around town for the board to review.
Though there was much back and forth about which projects to keep in the budget over the course of several meetings, ultimately only the paving of the rear of the town hall parking lot was pulled and will face voters as a warrant article.
The concern among some selectmen was the fact that the budget showed a significant increase. Selectman Brenda Copp wanted to see more items as warrant articles so voters wouldn’t be put off by the budget’s overall increases and turn the number down in favor of a default budget.
Copp sought to bring the government buildings line down a bit by removing the replacement of the bay doors at the fire department. The project is estimated to cost $11,600 and Copp said it would pass easily as a warrant article.
Other selectmen were concerned that should the article fail, those doors could not be replaced for an entire year, as when something fails by warrant article, state law is clear that it can’t be addressed that year.
Selectman Jim Devine, a longtime member of the fire department, said the doors were original to its construction in the early 1980s, and the heat savings alone would give a quick return on investment.
Ultimately the board decided to keep the doors in the budget, with all members but Copp in agreement.
The board decided to remove the parking lot paving, a cost of $20,000, to float it as a warrant article, and also decided to add in a couple thousand dollars for crack sealing.
Other projects included in that budget are an improved fire alarm system for town hall, the painting of the ceilings and walls at the fire department, replacement of the sinks and toilets at town hall. and sprinkler system cleaning.
The project total came to $28,195 by the end of the night. The entire budget was approved for review by the budget committee at $97,313.88, with a revenue of $1,800.
The current year’s budget totals $79,578.60.
“Wow, that went up a lot,” said selectmen Hans Nicolaisen. “But if you don’t take care of the stuff, it’s not going to last. It stinks that you’ve got to spend that much but it’s got to be done.”
Chair Tom Tombarello said proper maintenance can sidestep higher emergency repair costs down the line.
Also approved Monday was the executive account at a gross expense of $212,552 and a revenue of $750. This budget is up from the current year’s $198,876.09.
The police department budget was approved for review by the budget committee at a gross expense of $572,591.31 and a revenue of $5,195. Current year total is $538,687.86.
The fire department budget was quickly approved at a reduced gross expense of $133,225 and $100 revenue. Current year totals $133,923.60.
The rescue budget also saw a reduction of 3.5 percent from the current year’s $52,850.
In other business:
• The selectmen approved a recreation department request to shore up the driveway exit at the Ed Garvey Recreational Facility.
Recreation director Deb Brown and recreation chair Ron Dulong explained that there’s a moat across the exit during rain or snow, such that it’s difficult to traverse it. With the help of the highway department and extra funds in the lifeguard payroll line, the recreation department will place 40 feet of pipe beneath the area and cover it with gravel. A donation to the department made this month will also help defray the costs.

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