Francestown Select Board to discuss ConVal petition article that arrived one day too late

By JESSECA TIMMONS

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Published: 02-12-2024 11:16 AM

Modified: 02-13-2024 9:53 AM


The Francestown Select Board will meet Monday night to discuss whether a recent addition to the town warrant, which was submitted one day past the deadline, will go on the ballot in March.

The petition warrant article, submitted by Laura Mafera and representing a group of Francestown parents opposed to the proposed ConVal reconfiguration plan, proposes the ConVal School Board “initiate a feasibility study of Francestown’s withdrawal from the ConVal School District pursuant to RSA 195:25.”

While the article was included in the printed town warrant provided the Feb. 7 budget hearing, Town Administrator Jamie Pike said the article would not be discussed at the meeting because the Select Board had not yet had time to talk about it.

“This article would be the necessary first step in asking for a feasibility study to withdraw from the ConVal school district. There would be no tax impact,” said Select Board Chair Scott Heath.

Select Board Member George Ravalico noted the proposal would be non-binding.

“We would be sending a message to the School Board. If we want to explore withdrawal from the school district, this is a necessary step. The School Board would be bound to this by the RSA,” Ravalico said.

The dozen Francestown residents in attendance had few questions about the remaining warrant. The town’s proposed operating budget for 2024 is approximately $2.17 million, representing an increase of $118,472, or 5.78%. The estimated tax increase of all warrant articles would be 1.51%. Pike noted that the minimal increase in the tax rate could be credited to “better investments” by the town in 2023, which brought in an additional $50,000 to $60,000 in the past year.

Increases out of the town’s control included an additional $26,000 in fees from Peterborough Ambulance Service and an increase of $50,000 in employer taxes. The cost of employee health insurance of went up by $10,000.

Major expenditures for Francestown in the coming year include $100,000 toward asphalt paving. Pike noted that the Police Department budget was down only because the department was not able to fill a part-time position, and that Recreation Department costs were offset by program fees, which made the tax impact of the recreation department almost zero. Smaller expenditures include $4,000 for carpet replacement at the police station, and $10,000 for improvements to the Transfer Station.

The complete Francestown warrant is available at francestownnh.org.