Newton-Kingston Taxpayers Association

   Reasonable Taxes for Best Values
     in Local Government and Schools


Newton Warrant Articles:

#2 – Planning Board expansion and simplification of ordinance regarding accessory apartments in town.

#3 Newton Fire Station.

The existing fire station was built many years ago, when firetrucks were much smaller, required equipment was much less and building requirements were far lower standards, including no requirement for ADA compliance. Our station is also the town’s emergency shelter. The cost to bring our existing station up to the minimal standards needed for ADA- not an option! , to have room to fit our trucks without the need to shovel even as low as 1 inch of snow in order to get out, to have the asphalt work, to have safe ventilation for our firefighters and so many other requirements would cost more than the cost of the proposed new station at 8 Merrimac Road. The proposal was made last year and came close to passing. The cost last year was the lowest it will ever be, due to the very low interest rates that prevailed and lower building costs. Costs for both have risen this year. It is not an option to avoid having a firehouse: either the old one needs to be retrofitted (more expensive!) or we do the new one. If we wait another year or more, it will end up costing more. This year is a higher cost than last, due to costs of materials and interest rates.

Cost estimated at $.23/$1000. For a $325,000 home, the cost will be about $75.

#4. Operating Budget for the Town of Newton.

The proposed budget is LESS than the default budget, although both are very close. The Selectman have analyzed and pared costs on a line by line basis. NKTA recommends passage of the town budget.

Cost is $.11/$1000. For a $325,000 home, the cost will be about $36.

#5 & #6 have no tax increase.

#7. Social Services

This $31,000 saves the Town of Newton the cost of hiring social workers at much higher costs.

Cost is $.06/$1000. For a $325,000 home, the cost will be about $19 per year.

#8. Senior Events

This is a traditional Newton gift to the Seniors of our town who contribute in volunteer hours, and in taxes, to support the schools and other town services. The true tax impact is really well below the $.01/$1000 that is stated on the warrant.

Cost for a $325,000 home is about $3.

#9. Newton Olde Home Day

This is a community event that was traditional for many years in Newton, and helped to bring the town together for free fun. Past events have included free activities for all including trampolines, climbing wall, bands as well as vendors, fair-type food for sale and K-9 demos, Fire Station demos, and movies and fireworks.

Cost $.01/$1000 The cost for a $325,000 home is about $3 a year.

# 10 Elderly Tax Exemptions

This slightly expand exemptions to needy elderly and to servicemen, at no tax impact to residents.

#11 Solar Energy Tax Credit

This warrant would permit property tax credit to residents who install solar energy to their homes.

There is no tax impact.

#12 Veterans Property Tax Credit

This warrant expands the definition of veterans qualifying for a credit.

There is no tax impact.

#13 Private trash pick up to Transfer Station

This warrant asks residents whether they wish to have the Board of Selectmen explore the ability for private trash haulers to being their trash to the Transfer Station. There is nothing binding in this warrant. It would indicate whether the residents want this possibility explored this coming year. In discussion at the Public Hearing, myriad challenges were raised about possible implementation, and adequate exploration could consume significant man-hours for the Board.

No Cost

The actual wording of the warrants follows:

Newton TOWN WARRANT

2017

The State of New Hampshire

THE POLLS WILL BE OPENING FROM 8:00 A.M. TO 8:00 P.M.

To the inhabitants of the Town of Newton, N.H. in the County of Rockingham, in said State, qualified to vote in Town Affairs; you are hereby notified to meet for the first session of the annual meeting, which shall be for the explanation, discussion and debate of each warrant article and the transaction of all business other than voting by official ballot to be held at the Newton Town Hall on Saturday, February 4, 2017 at 9:00 AM; the second session to be held at the Newton Town Hall, in said Newton, on Tuesday, the fourteenth day of March next, at eight o’clock in the forenoon, to choose all necessary Town officers for the ensuing year by official ballot, and to vote on all issues before the Town of Newton on the official ballot; the polls to be open at eight o’clock in the forenoon and to close not earlier than eight o’clock in the evening.

1. To elect all necessary Town Officers for the ensuing year.

2. Are you in favor of the adoption of Amendment No. 1 as proposed by the Planning Board for the Town of Newton Zoning Ordinance as follows?

To amend the Accessory Apartment Ordinance (Section XII) to comply with changes to the state Accessory Dwelling Unit law (Senate Bill 146) and to prohibit new detached accessory dwelling units.

BOLD – language to be added,

BOLD and Strikethrough – language to be removed

SECTION XIII ACCESSORY APARTMENTS (Added March 2001, amended March 2012 and March 2017)

Pursuant to RSA 674:21 71 - 674:73, the Planning Board is hereby authorized to grant a Conditional Use Permit to allow for accessory apartments within the Residential A Zone in accordance with the restrictions and requirements of this section. To increase housing alternatives while maintaining neighborhood aesthetics and quality, an accessory apartment shall be permitted within a detached all single family dwelling units. shall be permitted in the Residential A Zone. Maximum of one (1) accessory apartment per property.

1. The property owner must occupy one (1) of the two (2) units.

2. Only one (1) bedroom is No more than two (2) bedrooms are permitted in the accessory apartment.

3. Not more than four (4) two (2) people shall occupy said apartment.

4. Off street parking sufficient for both units must be provided (space for a minimum of four (4) vehicles).

5. The structure and lot shall not be converted to a condominium or any other form of legal ownership distinct from the ownership of the existing single family dwelling.

5. 6. The septic system shall be adequate for both units, per New Hampshire Water Supply and Pollution Control Standards.

6. 7. The accessory apartment must be attached to the primary dwelling unit. Accessory apartments are not permitted in detached accessory structures on the same lot. (for exceptions see #16)

7. 8. The accessory apartment shall have convenient and direct access to the primary dwelling unit (a connecting inside door) AND its own separate entrance/exit.

8. 9. Appearance shall remain that of a single-family residence. New entrances for the accessory apartment shall be located on the side or rear of the building.

9. 10. The size of the accessory apartment shall be a maximum of 800 square feet. SF, or 1/3 of the total gross floor area, whichever is smaller. (Amended March 2007)

10. 11. The primary dwelling unit and the accessory apartment shall share common utilities including well, septic system, heating, and electrical service.

11. 12. Design of the accessory apartment shall be such that it would be readily adaptable to conversion into part of the primary dwelling.

13.  Design, construction and all necessary permits for the accessory apartment shall be in accordance with the Town of Newton Building Code and Safety Ordinance.

14.  An accessory apartment occupancy permit will have to be obtained and shall be revoked if all of these conditions are not maintained.

15.  Any appeal of this ordinance shall be made to the Superior Court.

16.  Accessory apartments shall be allowed in a detached accessory structure which is in existence prior to the adoption of this ordinance provided the following conditions are found to exist:

A.  The existing detached accessory structure consists of at least 500 square feet of floor space;

B. No net increase in building footprint or floor space shall be allowed; and

C. Minimal structural modifications of the accessory structure are required to facilitate residential occupancy as determined by the Building Inspector.

Existing accessory structures are exempt from conditions 8, 9 and 13 provided all other conditions are met.

17. In accordance with RSA 676:17, a fine of $275.00 per day shall be assessed for violations of this ordinance.

THE PLANNING BOARD DOES RECOMMEND THIS ARTICLE 6-1

3. To see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate the sum of One Million, Six Hundred Ninety-One Thousand, Eight Hundred Eighty Dollars ($1,691,880) (gross budget) as recommended by the Newton Fire Station Building Committee to pay costs of design, engineering, site preparation, building construction and renovation, equipment and furnishing for a new Fire and Rescue Station to be located at 8 Merrimac Road, and to authorize the issuance of not more than $1,691,880 of bonds or notes in accordance with the provisions of the Municipal Finance Act (RSA 33) and to authorize the Selectmen to issue and negotiate such bonds or notes, to determine the date, maturities, denominations, interest rates, or discount rate in the case of notes, place of payment, form and other details of such bonds or notes and to enter into such agreements as are necessary to accomplish the financing and completion of such Fire and Rescue Station. (3/5 ballot vote required)

Based on information provided by the New Hampshire Municipal Bond Bank as of January 10, 2017, it is estimated that payment of the first year’s debt service on the bond authorized by this article would require a $0.23 increase per $1,000.00 of assessed value to be raised by taxes in 2018.

THE BOARD OF SELECTMEN DOES RECOMMEND THIS ARTICLE 5-0

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4. “Shall the Town of Newton raise and appropriate as an operating budget, not including appropriations by special warrant articles and other appropriations voted separately, the amounts set forth on the budget posted with the warrant or as amended by vote of the first session, for the purposes set forth therein, totaling $3,165,537.00? Should this article be defeated, the default budget shall be $3,168,716.00, which is the same as last year, with certain adjustments required by previous action of the Town of Newton or by law; or the governing body may hold one special meeting, in accordance with RSA 40:13, X and XVI, to take up the issue of a revised operating budget only.”

The budget increase from the 2016 ACTUAL budget to the 2017 PROPOSED budget represents a tax impact increase of $0.11 per $1,000.00 of assessed value.

THE BOARD OF SELECTMEN DOES RECOMMEND THIS ARTICLE 5-0

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5. To see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate the sum of $12,000.00 to be deposited into the Engineering and Renovation Capital Reserve Fund created in 2015; said funds to come from the unassigned fund balance. This represents rental fees received at 8 Merrimac Road.

This article would result in no increase in the amount to be raised by taxes.

THE BOARD OF SELECTMEN DOES RECOMMEND THIS ARTICLE 5-0

6. To see if the Town will vote, as proposed by the Board of Selectmen, to raise and appropriate the sum of $35,000.00 to hold a HAZARDOUS WASTE DAY for Newton Residents only and to authorize the withdrawal of $35,000.00 from the Transfer Station/Recycling Special Revenue Fund created in 2003 for this purpose.

This article would result in no increase in the amount to be raised by taxes.

THE BOARD OF SELECTMEN DOES RECOMMEND THIS ARTICLE 5-0

7. To see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate the sum of $31,547.00 for the following Community Services:

AREA HOMECARE & FAMILY SERVICES $ 3,800.00

CHILD ADVOCACY CENTER 2,000.00

CHILD AND FAMILY SERVICES 2,000.00

DRUGS ARE DANGEROUS 2,500.00

FAMILY MEDIATION 5,947.00

HAVEN 3,050.00

LAMPREY HEALTH CARE 1,600.00

NHSPCA 750.00

ROCKINGHAM COUNTY COMMUNITY ACTION 5,000.00

ROCKINGHAM NUTRITION MEALS ON WHEELS 2,200.00

VIC GEARY CENTER 2,700.00

$31,547.00

This article would result in a $0.06 increase per $1,000.00 of assessed value to be raised by taxes.

THE BOARD OF SELECTMEN DOES RECOMMEND THIS ARTICLE 5-0

8. To see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate, as proposed by the Recreation

Commission the sum of $4,200.00 for Recreational Programs and Trips for Newton Senior Citizens.

This article would result in a $0.01 increase per $1,000.00 of assessed value to be raised by taxes.

THE BOARD OF SELECTMEN DOES RECOMMEND THIS ARTICLE 5-0

9. To see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate, as proposed by the Recreation Commission, the sum of $7,000.00 for the purpose of sponsoring a Newton Olde Home Day to bring the community together with free entertainment and events for families, similar to the event last held in town on October 3, 2015.

This article would result in a $0.01 increase per $1,000.00 of assessed value to be raised by taxes.

THE BOARD OF SELECTMEN DOES RECOMMEND THIS ARTICLE 5-0

10. To see if the Town will vote to modify the Elderly Exemptions from property tax in the Town of Newton, based on assessed value, for qualified taxpayers, to be as follows: for the person 65 years of age up to 74 years of age $85,000; for a person 75 years of age up to 79 years of age $95,000; for a person 80 years of age or older $110,000. To qualify, the applicant must have resided in this state for at least 3 consecutive years, own the real estate individually or jointly, or if the real estate is owned by such a person’s spouse, they must have been married for at least 5 years. In addition, the tax payer must have a net income of not more than $35,000 or, if married, a combined net income of less than $45,000, and own net assets not in excess of $65,000 excluding the value of the person’s residence.

This article would result in no increase in the amount to be raised by taxes.

THE BOARD OF SELECTMEN DOES RECOMMEND THIS ARTICLE 5-0

11. Shall the Town of Newton vote to adopt the provisions of RSA 72:61-64 inclusively, which provide for an optional property tax exemption from the property’s assessed value, for property tax purposes, for persons owning real property, which is equipped with Solar Energy Systems intended for use at the immediate site. Such property tax exemption shall be in the amount equal to $1.00 of the assessed value of qualifying solar energy system equipment under these statutes.

This article would result in no increase in the amount to be raised by taxes.

THE BOARD OF SELECTMEN DOES RECOMMEND THIS ARTICLE 5-0

12. Shall the Town of Newton vote to adopt the provisions of RSA 72:28-b, All Veterans’ Tax Credit? If adopted, the credit will be available to any resident, or the spouse or surviving spouse of any resident, who (1) served not less than 90 days on active service in the armed forces of the United States and was honorably discharged or an officer honorably separated from services and is not eligible for or receiving a credit under RSA 72:28 or RSA 72:35. If adopted, the credit granted will be $500, the same amount as the standard or optional veterans’ tax credit voted by the Town of Newton under RSA 72:28.

This article would result in no increase in the amount to be raised by taxes.

THE BOARD OF SELECTMEN DOES RECOMMEND THIS ARTICLE 5-0

13. To see if the Town will vote to authorize the Board of Selectmen to study, and possibly implement, policies which would allow and regulate private trash haulers wishing to offer, for a fee, Newton residents curb-side pick-up and unloading it at the Newton Transfer Station.

THE BOARD OF SELECTMEN DOES RECOMMEND THIS ARTICLE 3-2

Given under our hands and seal this 16th day of January in the year of our Lord Two Thousand and Seventeen.

James L. Doggett, Chairman Matthew A. Burrill, Vice-Chairman Robert S. Donovan, Jr.

Lawrence B. Foote Lisa L. Gonyer

BOARD OF SELECTMEN

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Sanborn Regional School District Warrant Articles

#1- To Elect the Following School District Officers:

This authorizes the votes for the available seats on the School Board, the School Budget Committee and the School District Moderator. This year there are a total of 7 seats up for election on the Board and Committee, out of a total of 14 in all who serve on them. The reason for this unusual number is that there have been mid-term resignations that then need to be filled by the voters at the next election. The normal term is 3 years, and the moderator one year.

#2 – General Acceptance of Reports.

This is a standard warrant article that needs to pass for the District operations.

#3 – Operating Budget.

The operating budget is comprised of two numbers: The General Fund and the Special Revenues Fund. The latter is an estimate from the school administration. The General Fund is a number developed by a lot of work by the school administration, the School Board and the Budget Committee. The Budget Committee recommendation was presented to the voters present at the first voting session on February 8, and was increased by $500,500 to the budget proposal that appears on the ballot: $34,196,468. If this warrant passes, the School Board will have this amount of money available to run the School District over the coming fiscal year, July 1 2017 to June 30 2018. If the warrant fails to pass, the default budget of $34,723,540 will go in to effect. This year the default budget is higher than the proposed budget and has a higher tax impact. This year the tax impact of both the proposed and the default budgets appear on the warrant article. NKTA is recommending Passing the Proposed budget. Vote YES.

#4. Professional Staff Contract.

This warrant covers a 2-year contract for the teachers of the Sanborn School District. The teachers’ contract failed to pass last year, and the teachers have been working without a contract this past year, which means they had no raises. This failure of a contract to pass has occurred in 4 of the past ten years, and, as a result, the teachers of our District currently have a lower starting salary than is average in New Hampshire. Some feel that the reason for failure to pass has been aggressively high budget proposals from the Administration and past budget committees. With NKTA advocacy, both the Superintendent and School Board put forward more conservative spending plans for FY 2018. The Budget Committee delved into current spending patterns and future spending plans, as well as declining enrollments, and recommended a $850,000 lower budget, having found $1.7 million in possible savings from the Superintendent’s request. This proposal was increased at the Deliberative Session, potentially endangering the professional staff contract, in NKTA’s opinion, since the increase was about equal to the additional cost of the professional staff contract. This warrant article is for about $500,000 in addition to the proposed budget for FY 18 and another $500,000 more for FY 19, making a total budget impact of $1.5 Million over the two years. Staffing is currently 71% of the total budget. This raise for staff is about 1.5% of the total budget. Last year after failure of the teacher contract at the polls, the District lost 27 teachers. The cost to replace teachers is almost $10,000 each in training costs.

#5. Special Meeting - Professional Staff

This provides for a re-vote, at the ballot booths, in the event Warrant Article #4 fails to pass. The School Board and Teachers Union could renegotiate and bring a proposed contract back to the voters for a new vote.

#6. Support Staff Agreement

This covers a 2 year contract with the Support Staff Union, the paraprofessionals who support the Special needs in the classrooms. Many of these are local residents. The reason for a 2 year contract is that there is a possibility of a ‘Cadillac tax” on the District in 2 years, for the health insurance we provide for our District employees. Both the Professional Staff and Support Staff have agreed to a higher deductible health plan for the coming year, should this pass. The non-union employees adopted this plan last year, saving the District some money. The District currently pays 90% of all employees ‘ health insurance, with the employee paying the other 10%. NKTA has been troubled over the high contribution rates, compared to both town employees and to most residents. However, the standard in New Hampshire with whom we must compete for our staff is 85-90%. If the “Cadillac Tax” takes place in 2019, this will change. In the meantime, remaining competitive resulted in the proposed contracts as they now are.

#7. Special Meeting- Support Staff.

Please see remarks on #5. This has the same purpose and intent.

#8. Enter into Conversation With the Town of Kingston To Sell Some or All of The Old High School Campus.

This is a non-binding vote to indicate whether voters of the District are interested in pursuing negotiations with Kingston. The property involved is the Seminary Building, the Science Building, the Swasey Gym and the Chase Fields. Some or all of them may be involved in the negotiations. There are multiple possibilities that could result, and any proposal will be brought before the District voters for approval before implemented.

Petition Warrant Articles: By law in New Hampshire any group of 25 or more petitioners can put forward warrant articles for voter consideration at the polls. This is one aspect of the democratic voting process we enjoy in New Hampshire.

#9. ADA Improvements – Swasey Gym and Chase Field House

American Disabilities Act compliance has been mandated for about 40 years, but the District is not in compliance at the Swasey Gym and the Chase Field House. A lawsuit has been promised about the lack of compliance, and these facilities will have to be padlocked and remain unused if this warrant article fails to pass, with a huge impact to the children of the District as well as to the town of Kingston. Many sports take place at this facility, including High School Football practice, youth basketball, youth soccer, Middle School basketball, and cheerleading. The question has to be asked, if the kids cannot pursue these activities, what will they be doing? This warrant covers a portion of the $9.6 Million 5-Year Capital Improvement Plan adopted by the School Board this fiscal year.

#10. Middle School Window and Blind Replacement.

This is a warrant article that reflects a portion of the $1.2 Million in spending that the School Board-adopted 5 year Capital Improvement Plan for FY 2018. The School Board declined to ask for funding of its plan, so a group of citizens put the warrants forward for voter approval or disapproval. NKTA believes that 1- capital improvement should be made on our aging infrastructure, 2- a plan including funding should be made and presented to the voters, and 3- capital improvements should be treated as separate warrant articles and not included in the operating budget. The School Board had originally proposed this warrant’s spending in a separate warrant article, as they did #9. The petitioners were aware that the School Board had the option of withdrawing their warrant proposals prior to the March 14 elections, so they put forward warrants that could not be withdrawn. The petitioners were not all members of NKTA, nor was this a NKTA-sanctioned move on their part. However, the action is in alignment with NKTA beliefs as outlined above. The School Board did, in fact, withdraw their two Capital Improvement Warrant articles.

The middle school is a 40-year-old building with almost no science labs, leaky windows, a warming kitchen instead of a full kitchen, a half-size gym that requires kids to be transported to the Swasey Gym and Chase Fields in Kingston for sports activities, dark office space, and elementary-sized classrooms and hallways for kids that are larger than that. With declining enrollments, NKTA believes that a viable long-term plan for our middle school children needs to be developed, along with a viable funding plan, and brought to the voters.

NKTA is not making a recommendation on this or any non-budgetary warrants. NKTA wants voters to be aware of the limitations of the facility, and of other possible options that could be brought before the voters for approval in the future when deciding whether to approve this funding.

11. Sanborn Ice Hockey Team.

Ice Hockey was begun as a club sport, then a JV and now a Varsity sport. There are 20 males and females who play. Ice Hockey is a very expensive sport. This warrant proposes that a portion of the cost of Ice Hockey be funded by the District taxpayers, with the balance being funded by efforts of the Boosters. At the start of Ice Hockey, the organizers promised the School Board that they would never seek funding from the taxpayers. Now that it has become a Varsity sport, the costs have risen sharply and they now seek funding and feel that, now that the team is Varsity, the situation is different than when they began. It is possible that most or the entire cost of Ice Hockey will become taxpayer-funded if this warrant passes. It is also possible that other sports may follow similar patterns, with Lacrosse coming soon. Athletics are an important part of student life and success, and a relatively small portion of the total School District Budget.

12. Capital Improvements- Swasey Gym and Chase Fields

This warrant is to fund the remainder of the Capital Improvement Plan adopted by the School Board for FY 2018. It was originally for $573,200 of proposed and, according to the Plan, critically needed improvements to this facility. With the proposal to negotiate selling the property to Kingston, and with the staff contracts, ADA compliance and Middle School Windows, the School Board elected to defer this part of their Plan. The petitioners felt that the adopted Plan should be brought before the voters for approval or disapproval. Many of our buildings have deferred maintenance. NKTA believes that asset maintenance is important, before we end up with more buildings that are in disrepair as the Old High School became.

At the Deliberative Session on Feb 8, voters changed the amount of funding to $1. If this warrant passes, the School Board will be able to spend that $1 plus any amount they choose from District funds on the items in this portion of the CIP. If it fails, the School Board will be unable to spend any money at all on these items, because ‘No Means No” in NH law.

13. Capital Improvements- Memorial, Bakie and Middle Schools

The original total for these improvements from the Capital Improvement Plan was $369,730. This too was reduced to $1 at the Deliberative Session by voters present on February 8. . If this warrant passes, the School Board will be able to spend that $1 plus any amount they choose from District funds on the items in this portion of the CIP. If it fails, the School Board will be unable to spend any money at all on these items, because ‘No Means No” in NH law.

14. Default Budget

The current procedure is to have the default budget, every year the alternative to the proposed budget before the voters, determined by the School Board. The School Board effectively abdicates its responsibility for this determination to the School Administration. They do not have the time or the inclination to determine the default budget. The law states that it is the citizens responsibility to develop the default budget.

There is a provision in law, that the determination of the default budget can be shifted to the Budget Committee whose sole responsibility is the budget recommendation. This warrant has to be passed by a super- or 3/5 majority.

Some are concerned that passage will place both the proposed and the default budgets in the hands of the Budget committee. In fact, the default only would be, instead of being in the hands of the Administration as it effectively now is. The proposed budget is recommended but not determined by the budget Committee. It is the voters present at the Deliberative Session who determine what it will be, for the March vote. With the default budget in the hands of the Budget Committee, the Administration would remain involved in an advisory capacity, and the Department of Revenue would still review it for accuracy.


For the complete wording of the Warrants, please see: Sanborn District Warrants