Andover warrant offers voters many options
At Saturday’s town meeting, Andover voters will consider a baseline municipal appropriation of $591,469.
But they will also be offered the option to raise an additional $100,000 toward negotiating with SAD 44 to keep the Andover Elementary School open, should the town remain in the district. They will be asked if they wish to raise another $120,000 to buy a Fire Department ladder truck.
Andover is currently in talks with SAD 44 to possibly leave the district and establish its own school unit. A vote on the question is expected this spring.
But to keep the town’s options open in the event voters reject withdrawal, said Selectboard Chair Susan Merrow, selectmen added the $100,000 question to this year’s warrant. Having the funds available would allow the town to again negotiate to keep the Andover Elementary School open.
As for the ladder truck, Merrow said a town in Connecticut is offering to sell the truck, about 15 years old, to Andover to replace the Fire Department’s 1973 ladder truck. Merrow said the town truck has been recently certified, but selectmen decided to present the purchase opportunity to townspeople.
“[The town truck] is working at this time,” said Merrow, but that could change quickly because of its age.
Townspeople will also consider whether to establish a designated capital improvement account for the AFD, to be funded by donations. Merrow said the department receives ongoing donations and the move would clarify the bookkeeping and use of such funds.
Residents will also be asked if they wish to use money in the surplus account over $140,000 for tax reduction. There is currently $204,000 in the account, Merrow said.
Two money articles that were rejected by voters at previous town meetings will return for consideration on Saturday.
One is a big-ticket item: $320,000 to rebuild a one-mile section of the Farmer’s Hill Road. A similar article, for $300,000, was turned down last year for a road that resident Sid Pew called “the worst road in town.”
But voters didn’t want to spend that much money on a mile of road, particularly with other existing road indebtedness, which this year totals $414,002.
If voters favor the project this year, they are offered two options: pay for it with a 10-year bond, or put money aside year by year to save to do it in the future.
The second article that will be familiar to residents is a request for $10,000 for the Designated Town Revaluation Account. A revaluation last took place at least 20 years ago, according to town officials.
In other items, several warrant articles address building ordinance issues. Two would clarify existing ordinances, another would ratify an existing one that was previously approved but is not valid because the proper voting procedure was not followed, and two others are new, Merrow said.
The new proposals include basing permit fees on square footage and requiring applications for the construction of large structures (with a clear span exceeding 24 feet) to have a certified engineering plan.
Voters will also be asked to form a committee to update the town’s expired Comprehensive Plan and approve an Andover Addressing Ordinance, which would establish how properties would be numbered.
The meeting starts at 9 a.m. at the Town Hall.
In town elections that will take place March 19, Selectman Keith Farrington is running for a three-year term unopposed, Merrow said. SAD 44 Director Keith Smith is retiring.
She said Esau Cooper, an Andover native who has a child at AES, is a write-in candidate for the position. To vote for a write-in candidate, residents must both write the name and check the box next to it, she said.
A soup buffet by the Andover Service Circle will take place at noon at the Town Hall.