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March 13. 2014 11:30PM

Hollis voters approve all warrant articles

HOLLIS -- With fewer than 200 people seated in the high school auditorium Wednesday evening, all proposed articles passed at this year's Hollis Town Meeting.

The meeting concluded in just over 2½ hours, with voters approving six municipal lease purchases (five Public Works vehicles and a new accounting software system for Hollis Town Hall), the $9.1 million town budget and collective bargaining agreements with the town's police/fire and Town Hall employees' unions.

Though majority vote ruled the day, several citizens questioned the need for five different Public Works vehicles.

Each of the lease agreements passed by voters will continue for five years, with purchases including a $38,000 pickup truck, a $53,000 tractor and a $223,000 grader, as well as two different-sized dump trucks (a smaller one at $53,000 and a larger one at $165,000).

Voters also approved some long-awaited parking lot improvements at the Hollis Fire Station.

Hollis Fire officials said the parking lot has been failing for the past several years and the current need for reconstruction is high. Town Manager Troy Brown said the project, budgeted at $87,000, could come in lower after going through the final bid process.

Town officials said the passage of the $9.1 million municipal budget would allow for the hire of a 15th police officer, as well as some repairs to Rocky Pond Road and Deacon Lane.

Resident Steve Pucci said he was for the most part pleased with budget put forward by selectmen and the budget committee this year.

"The major expenses were communicated well and the idea of looking at wants versus needs played a critical role," he said.

A citizen's petition to receive $7,500 in town-appropriated funds for the construction of a new playground at Big Nichols Field and repairs to an existing playground behind the Hollis Social Library was presented by petitioner Anna Birch.

Now that the warrant article has passed, Birch said she's planning to meet with the Board of Selectmen next week to discuss further fundraising options for the $45,000 project.


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