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Merrimack election on Tuesday

Union Leader Correspondent

April 07. 2013 10:22PM

MERRIMACK - Residents will have the opportunity to elect new town council and school board members during Tuesday's town election.

Running unopposed for two slots on the town council are incumbent Daniel Dwyer and former councilor David Yakuboff. Councilor Jackie Flood has decided not to seek re-election.

Vying for two slots on the school board are incumbent Christopher Ortega, incumbent Shannon Barnes and Gary Krupp, member of the school district budget committee.

The school board race is the only opposed race on the ballot, as all other town and school positions are unopposed.

Voters will be asked to approve a proposed 2013-2014 town operating budget of $28,725,477.

Thomas Mahon, town council chairman, said previously that the budget - if approved by residents at the polls - will result in a tax rate of $5.25 per $1,000 of assessed valuation.Although last year's town portion of the tax rate was also set at $5.25, officials said that because of an additional $12 million calculated for the town's overall value due in part to the new Merrimack Premium Outlets, last year's tax rate was actually closer to $5.14.

If the proposed $28.7 million budget is adopted, Mahon said earlier that the tax rate is expected to remain steady at $5.25.

For a typical home assessed at $300,000, their property tax bill will be about $7,000, with a portion of that - about $1,572 - representing the local municipal taxes.

Voters will also be asked to approve five collective bargaining agreements on the town portion of the ballot.

On the school ballot, voters will be asked to appropriate about $1.5 million for the construction of a new consolidated administrative office and special services building. The current administrative building suffered significant water damage last week when a toilet leak caused the basement to flood, ruining several computers and damaging other equipment.

Rich Hendricks, chairman of the Planning and Building Committee, said last month that the two existing facilities are overcrowded, lack privacy, are not accessible to people with disabilities and have heating and storage problems.While several other options were considered, including leasing a site, purchasing property or using existing school space, Hendricks said the construction of a new building near Merrimack High School is the most financially feasible.

Residents will also be asked to approve a $66.3 million operating budget for the school district, and a new contract with teachers that represents an increase of about $1.65 million in salaries over the next three years.

The lower teacher salaries - if kept at the existing rates - could potentially place the Merrimack School District at a disadvantage and elevate the risk of losing talented teaching staff, Shannon Barnes, school board member, said last month.

As a result, the school board is recommending salary increases of 2.99 percent for the 2013-2014 school year, and a 2.75 percent wage hike for each of the two following years.

Voters are being asked to support wage increases totaling about $634,000 for the upcoming school year, nearly $557,000 for the 2014-2015 school year and about $460,000 for the 2015-2016 school year.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at James Mastricola Upper Elementary School, 26 Baboosic Lake Road.

Politics Merrimack

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