MEREDITH — Resolution of the long-discussed need for better and safer conditions for Department of Public Works employees took a big step forward with the approval of a $7.6 million building plan at Wednesday’s Town Meeting.
The 185-37 ballot vote easily met the two-thirds majority requirement for passage of the article. The plan calls for the replacement of a 7,000-square-foot building with a 12,839-square-foot structure that will allow the crew to maintain town vehicles in a safe environment that also is far more energy-efficient.
Voters also passed, without discussion, a proposed $14,533,958 operating budget.
An article seeking $400,000 for the final design of the town library renovation and expansion project was more involved. Voters questioned the need for a new design when two architectural firms had done conceptual designs last year. Officials explained the difference between conceptual and final designs, and noted that, once completed, the new design will come before voters next year for approval of the spending to actually build the addition — a project likely to cost $3-$4 million.
Veterans were assured that the memorials in front of the library will be preserved and, in fact, will become part of a garden area.
The article easily passed.
Voters also supported the request for $70,000 to complete the Laverack Nature Trail. There were some objections to changing the name of the trail from the Hawkins Brook Nature Trail, but committee members explained that Meredith Village Savings Bank had made a $200,000 donation in Samuel Laverack’s name with the understanding that the trail would carry his name. Laverack is the former president and chief operating officer of MVSB.
A ballot vote on allowing the operation of Keno 603 in Meredith failed on a 41-170 vote. No one who had signed the petition for the article spoke in favor of the article.
Voters doubled the appropriation in a petitioned article for the Glenn Hart Memorial Skate Park (see separate article.)
There was some confusion at the meeting when the order of articles in the voters’ guide did not match the official Town Warrant. The error forced selectmen to rescind and make new motions on articles 10 and 11, dealing with expendable trust funds for the fire department.
Elections: No contested races. Selectmen — Jonathan James, 266; Nathan Torr, 281. Library Trustee — Sarah Johnson, 262; Betty Strader, 250.
Zoning Amendments: Wireless Telecommunications — 273-23; Property Classification — 242-61; Revised Definitions — 252-48; Recreational Camps — 221-70.