Published DateASHLAND — In an SB-2 election where 300 people came to the polls on Tuesday, all but 66 of them chose to keep an elected Budget Committee in the mix and not allow the Board of Selectmen to develop the annual budget and hold its own public hearings without review.
The article, placed on Tuesday's warrant by the selectmen, was publicly opposed by Budget Committee Chair Steve Felton who labeled the initiative a power grab by the selectmen
"We believe that the current process allows for a transparent and effective budget review and preparation with prospective from the departments, the governing bodies, and the Budget Committee," Felton wrote to local newspapers, adding that the real decision voters needed to make was whether or not two members of the three-member Board of Selectmen should be empowered to create the entire budget.
To that end, voters also chose to increase the size of the Board of Selectman from three members to five. The vote was 177 in favor to 149 against.
According to Chapter 41:8-e of the N.H. RSAs, should a community choose to expand its governing board, at the next meeting (in 2014) three seats will be one the ballot — one for one year and two for three years.
The next year (2015) two members shall be elected for three-year terms and at the next meeting (2016) one member shall be elected for a three-year term. From then on, the three-year seats shall be elected as terms expire.
On Tuesday, incumbent Phil Preston was re-elected to a three-year term by a vote of 176 to 120, over Arron Rochette. Christine Austin and Francis Newton were elected to the Budget Committee.