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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Amherst will vote on fields for sports

AMHERST – There is little debate here about the need for more sports fields given the number of kids who participate in some activity, but the question for voters on Tuesday is this: Do you want to spend $180,000 to buy 6.5 acres on Route 101 from the state?

The Board of Selectmen and the town’s Ways and Means Committee believe voters should: The selectmen unanimously support the purchase – Article 22 on the town warrant – and Ways and Means supports it, but no vote is given on the town ballot.

In all, Amherst voters will have 14 town warrant articles on which to vote when they go to the polls.

They also will determine the fate of four Souhegan School District articles and four Amherst School District articles.

The town budget and the budgets for the two school districts make up the majority of spending proposed to voters this year.

For the town, the proposed budget (Article 24) is $11.1 million. If it is defeated, then the default budget kicks in and it is $10.9 million.

The Souhegan budget is $18.6 million, with its default budget at $18.4 million, but there is also a significant bonding article for renovation, repair and replacement of the roof, HVAC system, paving, and interior locking systems at Souhegan High: $2.9 million that requires a three-fifths (60 percent) approval vote.

The Amherst School District’s primary spending article is the budget, set at $24.5 million with the default budget at $24.2 million. Voters are also being asked to support a three-year collective bargaining agreement between the School Board and the Support Staff Association.

There are also some interesting contests for local offices.

For the Board of Selectmen, newcomer Charles S. Sherman, who for many years was a well-known television sportscaster, is challenging two incumbents: Bruce Bowler and Brad Galinson.

For the Souhegan School Board, longtime Selectman Marilyn Peterman, who retired from the board in 2005 after serving six terms, is seeking a seat and running against Peter Maresco, who served on the Amherst School Board for the past three years, and Jane Pollio, who is running for elected office for the first time. It is the only contest on the Souhegan ballot.