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For New Hampshire towns, it's time to vote


Town and school budgets, labor contracts, construction projects, zoning proposals and a host of other local concerns will be decided at annual town meetings Tuesday.

Local elected leaders, from library trustees to selectmen, are also on the ballot in many New Hampshire communities.

Building and infrastructure improvements are among big-ticket items. Major articles on town warrants include:

• $45,125,263 for a new junior/senior high school in Newmarket.

• $5.79 million for a new municipal complex in North Hampton. The proposal calls for construction of a new police and fire building, the construction of a new library, and renovation of the existing police station for use as administrative offices.

• Littleton has an article proposing a $1.2 million construction of a new town Department of Public Works building on town land.

• $1.4 million for a bridge reconstruction bond in Salem.

Bedford voters will consider a $30 million bond issue to improve local roads. Some 150 roads are considered in need of improvement, according to the town's Department of Public Works. Some roads have not been touched in 20 years, Public Works Director Jim Stanford told the Union Leader.

Londonderry voters will be asked to OK $102,473 to extend the collective bargaining agreement between the town and the police department employees represented by AFSCME.

Hudson voters will be asked to decide five union agreements, including pacts with police and firefighters' union.

Windham's warrant has a two-year teachers' contract, $488,269 the first year and $505,237 the second year.Warrant articles up for votes Tuesday include funding for many social service nonprofit agencies, as well as for arts and entertainment functions in town.

In Milford, for example, the warrant features $20,000 to support the Pumpkin Festival and holiday decorations, and $8,500 for fireworks in connection to a July 4th celebration.

In Raymond, voters will be asked to approve $50,000 to fund Raymond's 250th anniversary celebration.

Not all towns conduct their annual municipal business March 11. Some towns hold their annual sessions later this spring. Merrimack, for example, has its town deliberative session March 12, and its ballot voting April 8.

Other items up for a vote Tuesday include:

• $180,000 to upgrade Londonderry's highway garage.

• $1.9 million in Salem to buy fire vehicles, including a new ladder truck.

Milford voters will see a proposed purchase of a new ladder truck for the Fire Department, for a total cost of $770,000.

A $275,000 article in Windham aims to boost multi-use recreational fields.

dtuohy@unionleader.com

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