Concord Approves it All

concCONCORD - Another Town Meeting Day has come and gone for Concord. Overall, residents showed support for the 18 articles up for vote, as each appropriation was approved. Voters have agreed to raise a total of $787,053 dollars in taxes for all of the general expenses of the town.

 

Two of the most significant items on the municipal ballot included a $4,000 dollar increase for Calex Ambulance Services, and an extra $7,500 dollars for the Essex County Sheriff's Department. In general, most appropriations requested money for relatively standard organizations and operating costs amongst the community. There was nothing too out of the ordinary facing residents.

Unlike many years past, tax-payers were not asked to weigh in on school-budget related matters, as that vote will be happening on April 10th. This is a new format, representing the new direction of the unified Kingdom East District. The proposed budget for the eight towns including Concord, Lunenburg, Lyndon, Burke, Sutton, Newark, Sheffield, and Miller's Run (Wheelock), amounts to a total of $33.9 million dollars.

The Kingdom East school-board will be hosting a series of informational meetings throughout the first week of April, leading up the vote on the 10th. According to superintendent Jennifer Botzojorns, it's very important to educate residents on the steep price tag. "One of our goals is to really educate folks and let them know what this budget represents, because for many, they may be used to seeing a $2 or $3 million dollar budget and suddenly they see $33.9 million dollars, which is a lot of money. However, we are actually spending less, or our proposed budget is less than is for all combined this year, and there's about $750 thousand dollars worth of savings from consolidating, from closing our central office. Instead of having two we're having just one, so there are some savings," she said.

Yesterday, the town did decide to open a new Educational Facilities Reserve Fund for the town, which will inherit money from the school's existing account, as well as any excess money in the school's budget come June 30th. Residents approved this proposal 123 to 48, allowing the town to dedicate a sum of money to the Concord School specifically after the unification begins in the Fall.