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Town engineer, budget increase on Hooksett ballot

HOOKSETT — Should all money articles, including the proposed town operating budget, be approved on Election Day, the total municipal tax rate in Hooksett is expected to increase from $6.88 to $7.08, or an additional $50 on a $250,000 home.

Voters have final say at the polls on Tuesday, from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., at David R. Cawley Middle School.The Budget Committee’s proposed $16,681,262 operating budget represents an additional $621,720, or a 3.87-percent increase, over the last fiscal year.The default budget is $16,451,761, which represents a $229,501, or 1.39 percent increase.

“I think it’s important that the voters approve the operating budget. It’s a good budget that will provide the services the town expects,” said Town Council Chairman James Sullivan. “There are some uncontrollable drivers of the increase, most particularly the 17-percent in insurance rates.”

In an effort to reduce future insurance costs for the town’s public service personnel, Hooksett officials have asked the police union to accept a one-year deal, which aligns the police, fire and public works contracts, which is likely to help the town negotiate better insurance rates for those respective agreements.

The $52,000 contract increase represents a 3-cent increase per $1,000 assessed valuation, or $7.50 on a $250,000 home.

Voters are also asked to approve a $91,884 request for a full-time town engineer.

The article generated the most discussion among the roughly four dozen residents who attended the town’s deliberative session on April 5.

The tax impact of hiring a town engineer is 6 cents per $1,000 assessed valuation, or $15 on a $250,000 home.Sullivan said the position is likely to save the town and local contractors money while providing Hooksett with a valuable in-house resource.“I would want the voters to consider approving the new town engineer position,” he said. “It is good for the taxpayers for it can recoup costs from developers in town and can provide a good conduit with the new businesses coming to town. This article, plus the (proposed) new sign ordinance, is a great step to attract good economic growth.”

Additional money articles seek to add to capital reserve funds including $100,000 for town building maintenance and $100,000 for public works vehicles; $50,000 for fire apparatus; $50,000 for drainage upgrade; $30,000 for future revaluation; $20,000 for air pack and bottles; $20,000 for automated collection equipment; and $15,000 for parks and recreation facilities.

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