Merrimack's Tea Party

Voters send strong anti-tax message

By GLEN ZIBOLIS, Merrimack Connection
Published: Tuesday, Apr. 18, 2006

Members of "Merrimack Cares," a local group striving to lower property taxes, celebrated last Tuesday night after the results of the Town and School District voting were released. The message voters delivered was loud and clear: they're fed up with taxes, spending and the current leadership.

Both Dick Hinch and Ken Coleman lost their bids by decisive margins for re-election to the Board of Selectmen and School Board respectively. Voters also approved a controversial town operating budget that had $1.5M slashed from it during last month's Deliberative Session. Not stopping there, the voters overwhelmingly voted not to build a new library. And to pound the final nail in its coffin, they also voted to discontinue the Library Construction Capital Reserve Fund and return the remaining $2.5M to the general fund in order to offset property taxes.

Voters also rejected a bond issue for road improvements, which the Highway Department says the town is in dire need of.

They spared the full chop of the axe on Police and Firefighters by approving most of the collective bargaining agreements pertaining to them on the ballot. They also approved the agreements for supervisory personnel in the Public Works Department. On the other hand, voters rejected the agreements for non-supervisory personnel in the Public Works Department, as well as for supervisory personnel of the Fire and Police Departments.

Voters did approve the new town charter, which will transform the town's five-member Board of Selectmen to a seven-member town council. A special election will be held on June 13th to fill the two additional seats that will be created.