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Northfield town meeting went smoothly & budget is down 1.4%

To the editor,
This is one of my most favorite times of the year. Town and district meetings are a time for us to see some folks we have not seen in quite some time — a time for friends and neighbors to get together and make decisions about out town and district. I nearly ran over Nancy Court on my way in to the Northfield Town meeting Saturday! Sorry again Nancy.
In Northfield, we all heard a great idea from Lee French about recycling signs toward the end of the meeting. A lot of great questions were asked and there was little disagreement which was nice! Our Moderator, Scott McGuffin did a great job as usual and only had to use the gavel a couple of times. And we got a chance to say goodbye to Chief Adams and Selectman Geoff Ziminsky.
So far, it's been great. At the time I write this, the Fire District meeting and School District meetings have not happened. However, if the others go as smoothly as Northfield's Town meeting went, this is going to be a great year.
For those who did not attend town meeting this year, our budget (based upon money to be raised by taxes) went DOWN by around 1.4 percent and we were able to give a small raise to our employees. That is huge compared to what other towns and districts are doing. We also added money back into the budget for the library and to finally put the lawsuit with the sewer district and state behind us. There were some interesting petitioned warrant articles but the petitioners were not there which was disappointing. I would like to see them come back with a little more specificity and refinement next year.
Many of my neighbors at last year's meeting wanted the town to do a comprehensive study of our roads and come up with a plan to prioritize repairs and replacement before we spent any more money. Wouldn't you know they listened! The CIP committee and Bob Southworth did just that! They came up with a 10-15 year plan with projected costs and a plan on how we can do it without borrowing any money. This is a big deal. We owe Bob and the committee a tremendous thank you, pat on the back and encouragement to continue with this work. We have many road projects to do this year and more to come.
Planning Board Chair Wayne Crowley presented the Master Plan Survey. Although much has not changed with the overall sentiment there were some surprises that will be included in the Master plan that will be complete this year. More great work from our Planning Board.
It looks like outgoing Police Chief Steve Adams got us a great deal on a new cruiser and Bob got a deal on a new dump truck!
Speaking of Chief Adams, I wish him well in his retirement. He served us well for over 20 years. Also, Geoff Ziminsky is leaving the Selectboard after three years. Thanks for your service as well Geoff; you served us well. We also got to welcome our newest Selectman Kevin Waldron. Good Luck Kevin!
Hey, did I mention the budget was down 1.4 percent. Thanks for a great meeting. See you at School District Meeting this Saturday.
Keith D. Murray
Northfield
 
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