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Pelham~Windham News of Fire Engine
Volume 8 Number 26 January 21, 2011 12 Pages
Selectmen Support Purchase
by Barbara O&#x2019;Brien There appears to be no doubt in the minds of Windham Selectmen that the local fire department is in desperate need of replacing its antiquated and disintegrating &#x201C;Engine #3&#x201D; and that 2011 is the year that the new equipment should be purchased. The only controversy surrounding the acquisition of the new piece of firefighting apparatus is whether to pay for it with a bank note or through a lease- purchase agreement. Town Administrator
David Sullivan and Assistant Town Administrator Dana Call presented the options to selectmen during the annual budget hearing on January 11. Although Sullivan said there was little cost difference in the two options, he was recommending that the fire engine be purchased through a long-term note rather than a lease- purchase agreement. Either way, Sullivan said, the annual interest rate would be similar, something less than four percent, paid over a three- year term. Sullivan said he was recommending the issuance of a long- term note as he feels townspeople are more familiar with this type of financing for a municipal purchase. &#x201C;I feel this is the best option,&#x201D; he commented. After a lengthy and increasingly complex discussion of finance options, selectmen finally voted 4 to 0 to place a warrant article on the ballot for this coming March, asking voters to approve the purchase a new fire engine and any necessary associated equipment, totaling $600,000. Of this total amount, not more than $391,135 would be raised through the issuance of a bank note. The remainder
of the money would come from withdrawing $73,757 from the existing Fire Apparatus Capital Reserve Fund, established for this specific purpose, plus using $28,600 in accumulated fire department impact fees, also established for this type of purpose. The remaining amount of $106,508 would be raised by general taxation, according to the wording of the proposed warrant article (#4). Voting in favor of
paying for the fire engine, at least partially, through a bank note and not a lease/purchase agreement, as well as moving the issue to the ballot, were Chairman Charles McMahon, Vice Chairman Bruce Breton, Roger Hohenberger, and Ross McLeod. Selectman Galen Stearns did not attend the budget hearing. This warrant article is also supported by the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) Committee as part of an ongoing plan. If voters agree to buy a new fire engine, it will replace the existing &#x201C;Engine #3&#x201D;&#x2014;a 1992 vehicle that has, reportedly, more than outlived its usefulness to the department. In 2007, approximately $133,000 was spent on &#x201C;Engine #3&#x201D; for body repairs that were necessitated by rust, replacement of the engine, transmission repairs, wiring
replacement, and repairs to the brakes and to the coolant system. Despite all these extensive repairs, &#x201C;Engine #3&#x201D; continues to have additional problems, ones that will only worsen and become more costly over time, Fire Chief Tom McPherson said. Current issues with &#x201C;Engine #3&#x201D; include a malfunctioning pump, additional rust, and more electrical problems.
continued to page 10- Engine
Another Petition for Separating SAU #28
by Barbara O&#x2019;Brien For the second time in three years, a citizens&#x2019; petition is asking voters to set up a planning committee to consider withdrawing the Windham School District from SAU #28. In 2008, such a committee was formed by voter consensus and subsequently rejected the idea of separating the two school districts (Pelham and Windham) into individual School Administrative Units (SAUs). The recommendation not to separate SAU #28 was based on financial ramifications, as well as the upheaval that might be caused during the disintegration process. &#x201C;The former committee voted unanimously to not recommend splitting the SAU,&#x201D; Windham School Board Vice Chairman Ed Gallagher said.
Also, based on the recommendation of the former committee, Windham voters, subsequently, said &#x201C;no&#x201D; to the SAU split by a two-to-one margin. Another study committee might be valid in the future, Gallagher added, but now is not the time. &#x201C;There&#x2019;s a benefit to shared services,&#x201D; he said of the two-school district SAU. Recently, the two school districts have been making shared purchases on large cost items, such as paper, books, and other supplies. In years past, there were rumors of contention among
SAU board members, particularly between those representing Pelham and those from Windham. That has changed in recent years, Gallagher said. &#x201C;I feel the SAU Boards are much more collaborative than they were in the past,&#x201D; he said.
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe Entertains and Delights
by Karen Plumley The Pelham Community
Theater and Arts Penguin Players staged three performances of the C.S. Lewis classic, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe last weekend, January 14 and 15, at Sherburne Hall in Pelham. Their first performance on Friday evening at 7 p.m. was highlighted with enthusiastic performances by spiteful brother Edmund Pevensie (played by fifth grader Jacob Dahlinger) and the self-proclaimed Queen of Narnia, the evil and imposing White Witch (played by Penguin Award winner Samantha LaBrecque).
A nearly full-to-capacity Sherburne Hall was drawn into the compelling story of four siblings who discover a secret entryway into the enchanted Narnia through a wardrobe in their new home. Under the control of an evil &#x201C;White Witch,&#x201D; Narnia endures a bleak, unending winter without Christmas. Blinded by greed and the promise of power, little brother Edmund is lured by the witch and kept as prisoner. In the meantime, his siblings befriend the true ruler of
the land (Aslan the Lion, played by Tori Daigle), and win the hearts of Narnia&#x2019;s inhabitants. Aslan, the animals, and the human children eventually save Edmund and rid Narnia of the devious, scheming witch.
Under the direction of
Kayla Whelan and with the production talents of local art and theater enthusiast Janet Daigle, the play had many wonderful moments. Daigle also designed the beautiful costumes, including the endearing attire worn by Tiny Elf (Elise Sullivan), Mr. and Mrs. Beaver (Josephine Jozokos and Jade Atkins, respectively), youngest sister Lucy Pevensie (Lydia Lewis), and enchanting Aslan follower (Paige Ducharme). The next undertaking of
the children&#x2019;s theater group will be a production of Monster Under the Bed. For information on art and theater classes, as well as upcoming children&#x2019;s performances, visit the Pelham Community Theater and Arts Website at www. pelhamweb.org/pct
, or call Pelham Parks & Recreation at 635-2721.
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Te White Witch (Samanta LaBrecque) plays nice with Edmund (Jacob Dahlinger), successfully ensnaring his loyalty during an engaging scene in the first production of Te Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe performed by the Pelham Community Teater and Arts group on Friday night
Fifth grader Megan Landry plays the Centaur in the
Penguin Players&#x2019; production of the C.S. Lewis classic, Te Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, on Friday evening at Sherburne Hall in Pelham
Pelham&#x2019;s Penguin Players mingle during a scene in Te Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe:
Lucy (Lydia Lewis), Mr. Beaver (Josephine Jozokos), Father Christmas (Dara May), and Mrs. Beaver (Jade Atkins). In front, Tiny Elf (Elise Sullivan)
Selectman Makes Another Attempt to Reduce Secretarial Hours
by Barbara O&#x2019;Brien Windham Selectman Bruce Breton decided to make another attempt to reduce the number of hours worked by the Community Development Department&#x2019;s secretary, cutting deep enough that the person holding this job would lose her benefits. The other three selectmen in attendance at the January 11 budget hearing did not agree with Breton&#x2019;s proposal, however, and the position remains at 32 hours per week. This was not Breton&#x2019;s first attempt to reduce the work schedule for this position, a job held by Virginia Gray, an employee who has worked for the town for the past 23 years. Several months ago, a similar tact was taken, whereby Breton wanted the job slashed to only 20 hours per week. Originally, the secretarial position had been a 40-hour-per-week slot. At the time, the majority of selectmen had balked at Breton&#x2019;s recommendation, choosing, instead, to make the job 32 hours per week; enough hours to still qualify for employment benefits, most notably health insurance.
According to statistics presented by Breton, continued to page 10- Petition
taxpayers could save an annual amount of $22,365 by reducing the secretarial job to 30 hours per week and, thereby, avoiding the payment of benefits. If the job were cut as of March 1, Breton said, there would be a savings this year of about $16,400 in salary
and benefits. It was made clear that the proposed reduction in work hours was made by Selectman Breton and not Community Development Director Laura Scott. When asked to comment on how the reduction would affect the department, Scott said the impact would be one half-hour a day, four days per week. Presently, Gray is working four eight-hour days per week. Selectman Ross McLeod, who vehemently opposed Breton&#x2019;s suggestion, described the proposed reduction as &#x201C;an incremental chiseling away.&#x201D;
&#x201C;Is this person idle those two hours a week?&#x201D; McLeod asked Scott. &#x201C;No one in the department is idle at this point,&#x201D; Scott replied. Resident Margaret Case came to the podium and accused Breton of attempting &#x201C;to nickel and dime a long-term employee to death.&#x201D; Her husband, Tom Case, agreed. &#x201C;I am totally opposed [to this proposal],&#x201D; he added. Virginia Gray also spoke, saying that she feels town officials should &#x201C;show a little bit of loyalty&#x201D; for the nearly quarter of a century she has worked in the town&#x2019;s employ. Municipal Employees Union Representative
Laura Cryts, who also serves as the police chief&#x2019;s secretary, said she feels Breton has &#x201C;an ulterior motive and a personal agenda&#x201D; in wanting to reduce the number of hours worked by Gray.
&#x201C;It&#x2019;s very hard to see all the
other expenditures that are being made in this town and, at the same time, see a loyal employee lose her healthcare,&#x201D; Cryts said. &#x201C;She won&#x2019;t be working here forever, but she needs us now.&#x201D; Selectmen voted 3 to 1 not to reduce the weekly hours for the Community Development Department&#x2019;s secretary, leaving them at 32 hours per week. Voting against the reduction were Chairman Charles McMahon, Roger Hohenberger, and Ross McLeod. Voting in favor of the reduction of hours was Bruce Breton. Selectman Galen Stearns did not attend the January 11 budget hearing. After the meeting, Scott made the following comments about what had transpired during the budget hearing. &#x201C;The proposal made by Selectmen Breton to reduce the hours of the department secretary from 32 to 30 hours a week and, therefore, making the position ineligible for full-time benefits, was not unexpected,&#x201D; Scott said. &#x201C;I understand his interest in holding down the budget, so as not to put an undue burden on the taxpayers. However, it seemed that the rest of the Board of Selectmen members did not feel that his proposal was justified at this time,&#x201D; she added. &#x201C;None of the members of the Board discussed this proposal with me prior to the January 11th meeting, so the only input I provided was at that meeting.&#x201D;
staff photos by Karen Plumley
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