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  • Bruce Bowler
  • Brad Galinson is running for Amherst Board of Selectmen.

  • Nancy Baker is running for Amherst Library Board of Trustees.
  • Karl Ted Krantz is running for Amherst Library Board of Trustees.
Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Amherst voters reject Souhegan High School repairs, purchasing land for athletic fields

AMHERST – Voters were in a frugal mood Tuesday, voting down proposed budgets as well as rejecting a proposal to buy land for athletic fields near Route 101.

The town’s proposed $11.1 million budget, up about 6 percent from last year, was defeated by a 1,240 to 1,022 vote.

A default budget of $10.9 million will go into effect, instead.

Voters also defeated an article to spend $180,000 to buy a 6.5 acre parcel near Route 101 from the state.

The plan was to build a series of playing fields there to replace a set of fields the town will lose in two years. The vote was 1,321 to 943 against the article.

The money would have paid for the parcel of moderately forested land not far from a set of playing fields known as the Cemetery Fields. An agreement that allowed the town to use the land is set to expire in 2014, and the land will revert to the town’s cemetery trustees.

Bruce Bowler and Brad Galinson will remain on the Board of Selectmen, earning 1,204 and 1,209 votes respectively. Challenger Charlie Sherman, noted for his time as a sportcaster on Channel 9, came close to unseating one of the men with 1,126 votes.

In the race for cemetery trustee, William Blevin held onto his seat with 933 votes to Kevin Grassett’s 775.

Nancy Baker held onto her library trustee seat with 1,160 votes and newcomer Karl Ted Krantz unseated Richard Martini, with 677 votes to Martini’s 642.

An article to put $22,000 in the town’s ambulance capital reserve fund was approved with a 1,554 to 688 vote.

The town budget accounts for about 17 percent of a total tax bill, according to information provided at the meeting.

A number of other smaller articles were also approved, including articles dealing with capital reserve funds and a change in the town’s property tax exemptions for elderly and disabled residents.

The purchase or lease of a fire department rescue/pumper truck was turned down.

The final budget before voters Tuesday, that of the town’s School District, was also defeated by 1,165 votes to 1,067.

The $24.5 million operating budget for fiscal year 2012-13 would have been a roughly $530,000, or 2.2 percent, increase over the current budget.

Since it was voted down, a default budget of just over $24.2 million – roughly $248,000 less than the proposed budget – will take effect.

The Amherst School District, which governs Clark and Wilkins elementary schools and Amherst Middle School, is one of three districts that come under SAU 39.

Voters also approved cost items contained in the recently reached contract agreement between the district and the Amherst Support Staff Association, which covers teaching assistants, paraprofessionals, food service workers and other support staff.

The three-year agreement calls for roughly $14,000 this fiscal year and about $87,500 over the next two years. Member concessions included step increases only – no cost of living raises – and higher deductible insurance and increased premiums the first year.

That article passed by 1,144 votes to 1,120.

The agreement calls for step raises in years two and three, along with a 1 percent cost of living raise in year two and 1.5 percent in year three.

The only other monetary article on the warrant, Article 15, passed 1,327 to 919.

It asked for up to $80,000 from the year-end undesignated fund balance to be added to the capital facilities repair, maintenance and improvement fund if the undesignated fund shows a surplus on July 1.

Joseph G. Cote can be reached at 594-6415 or Also follow Cote on Twitter (@Telegraph_JoeC).