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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

$1.98m budget plan sent to meeting

MONT VERNON – About a dozen residents and town volunteers and officials Monday night tossed around a few lines on the town’s proposed $1.98 million operating budget before sending it on for discussion at the March 13 Town Meeting.

The full warrant of more than a dozen articles also goes on for what is expected to be a lengthy series of discussions at the meeting, which starts shortly after the polls close at 7 p.m.

The proposed budget reflects a roughly $44,000, or 2.2 percent, increase over the current $1.8 million budget voters adopted at 2011 Town Meeting.

In separate warrant articles, voters will be asked to consider a roughly $80,000, five-year appropriation for town road reconstruction; a request for $40,000 to repair and maintain the historic McCollom Building; about $35,000 to replace the Fire Department’s hydraulic rescue tool; and a $25,000 request for a four-wheel drive pickup truck for the Highway Department.

But the article that may spur the most discussion that night has no dollars and cents attached. Article 12, which asks residents whether the town should change the name of Jew Pond to Grand Hill Pond, continues to draw attention for what it is, what it isn’t and what it should be.

Growing resentment by some, including Jewish Federation of New Hampshire leaders, have put the name in the spotlight as Town Meeting nears. Also having the potential to prove controversial is selectmen’s decision to offer “Grand Hill Pond” as the alternative. Descendants of George O. Carleton, who 40 years ago donated to the town the land that includes the pond, have insisted any name change should be to Carleton Pond to honor the benefactor, whose name already graces the Grand Hill Road park adjacent to the pond.

During the day March 13, voters will go to the Village School polls to elect candidates for various town offices, boards and commissions.

Dean Shalhoup can be reached at 594-6443 or