Voter Guide 2019

The following articles are abbreviated. Please Click here for the sample 2019 Ballot for the full official description of each one. Not all ballot items are listed here, only ones that the NBTA evaluated.

Article 1: Candidates. Please click on Low Tax Candidates link at the top of this page to learn about the candidates that we support.

Article 2: Impact Fees for new construction VOTE YES
A Yes vote means that NB will have the governing language that would allow NB to collect impact fees.  This does not create an impact fee, only the ordinance to make the establishment of an impact fee legal. 

Article 8: Allow Outdoor Event Venue VOTE YES

Article 12:  Requested town budget:  $5,292,657. Default Budget:  $4,863,955.              VOTE NO
This year there is $428,701 difference between the proposed and the default budget.  Last year, they asked for 4,988,259 with a default of $4,866,098 which is a difference of $122,161.  At face value, it appears that they are trying to make up for the last default budget vote.  The difference between the proposed and default budget is a wider margin this year because of a law enacted the year before that imposed different criteria around the default budget calculation.  The House is working to repeal this law, which we feel takes away the taxpayer’s choice.  A default budget is still enough to work from, as the Town of New Boston has proven 2 out of the last 3 years.


Article 11: 2,800,000 new Fire Station Bond VOTE NO
No discussion of a new fire station occurred at fire ward meetings, only a recent vote to approve this warrant article which was not unanimous. The bond term is at the sole discretion of the Selectmen, so we don’t know what it will cost us. A recent flyer left on doors shows 10yr numbers, our Voter Guide used 20yr numbers and a Finance Committee member suggested 5 years so the yearly payment projection is all over the board. We feel that it was purposely not discussed at FW meetings to keep our ongoing reporting of it silenced.  The NBTA does not approve of this for lack of maintenance of the current building, a new station having space for no more apparatus than the current one and nearly $1 million in interest.  Click here to read the report on the fire station from 2 years ago because the circumstances are mostly the same. New Boston has two fire stations, with the one at the New Boston Tracking Station being mostly funded by the Federal Government. It has 2 bedrooms and shower facilities, which has been given as a reason to build a new station. The actions suggest that a full time department is coming sooner than has been publicized. This last budget cycle, a $62,000 Command Vehicle was requested, but since it showed up 2 years out and not the required 7 year schedule, it was rejected by the Planning Board. The Fire Chief’s salary was $13,130 in 2014. For 2019, the requested salary is 38,769 and that is based on a 25hr work week. The same person is also the Emergency Management Director with a requested 2019 salary of $4,000.

Last year, the NBTA asked the Selectmen if a trust account could be established for the purpose of voluntary donations or fund raisers to fund a new fire station. Although it may take some time to build it up, if successful, taxpayers would save nearly $1 Million in interest. This was not acted upon when we announced this to the Fire Wards last year. Studies from departments like Boston and Chicago have been put out there by the proponents to show cancer rates, but the station is not the risk, it is and always has been toxins from fighting a fire requiring the subsequent cleaning of the gear and the person. A full time firefighter in a large metropolitan city will experience many, many more fires than we do in New Boston. If cancer were a risk at the station, then they should not serve breakfast here. However, they reported an article that this was absolutely safe. Because of regulations that new construction would impose, fireman’s breakfasts could not occur in a new station. Land behind the current station was purchased for expansion a few years ago, but never used. A common phrase has been that the next fire chief will be full time and will not drive his own vehicle. This has been repeated by members of the CIP committee and other committees, but when asking for a new fire station, it changes to this being needed in order to keep it a part time call department. These are conflicting statements coming from the proponents. 2 months ago, we had 51 members which is a very strong force. Last month it was announced that we had 58. We were also told that people would leave if a new department is not built, but that is not the trend. The NBTA feels that the department is well run and has professional and dedicated members that give great service. A new roof will not change that. Their best work is done outside of the bay doors.

Article 12:  Requested town budget:  $5,292,657. Default Budget:  $4,863,955.              VOTE NO
This year there is $428,701 difference between the proposed and the default budget.  Last year, they asked for 4,988,259 with a default of $4,866,098 which is a difference of $122,161.  At face value, it appears that they are trying to make up for the last default budget vote.  The difference between the proposed and default budget is a wider margin this year because of a law enacted the year before that imposed different criteria around the default budget calculation.  The House is working to repeal this law, which we feel takes away the taxpayer’s choice.  A default budget is still enough to work from, as the Town of New Boston has proven 2 out of the last 3 years.

Article 13:  Elimination of the Fire Ward form of governing the Fire Department, transferring the supervision and hiring of the Fire Chief to the Board of Selectmen.       VOTE NO
The Fire Ward form of governing the Fire Department has been a New Boston tradition since 1848.  It is currently occupied by 7 unpaid elected residents, whom all have extensive Fire Department experience.  Only the Chief draws a salary.  The reasons given as to why this should change was because the majority felt that managing a Chief was too much responsibility and that the Selectmen should assume this role.  (Board of 3 people that several other department heads in town report to.)  We feel that this would be a loss of experience that is currently present on this board and a loss of not only public oversight, but fire personnel participation in their own department.

Article 29: $33,000 server and network project for Police Dept. VOTE NO
This article came up last minute in the budget process and bypassed the Finance Committee. A FC member questioned this at the Budget Hearing.  There was no supporting information that normally accompanies such a request.  No specifications, licensing costs, detailed hardware line item costs were included as they were for a similar request for the Town’s server upgrade.  Finance Committee had one dissenting vote.

School Article 2: Requested town budget:  $16,329,303. Default Budget:  $16,251,111.              VOTE NO
The number of students is leveling out. The default budget this year is higher than last year’s budget by $347,315, so we feel that it is more than adequate to run the schools without sacrificing services.

School Article 3: Salary increases over 3 years:         VOTE NO
We support regular raises, but we should not pay more than market rates for teachers.  Most of our teachers are at the high end of the salary grid.  We value their years of service, but there is a limit to what our community can afford.  Year 3 is a substantial increase to “step up” pay grades.

School Article 4: $100,000 Building Maintenace to be taken from next year’s surplus. VOTE YES
We support this and believe that maintenance is crucial to building longevity.