CONWAY DELIBERATIVE MEETING RECAP

by Christian Mower on March 8, 2012

JUST UNDER 110 PEOPLE TURNED OUT WEDNESDAY NIGHT AT KENNETT HIGH SCHOOL IN CONWAY FOR THE TOWN’S DELIBERATIVE MEETING TO CONSIDER POSSIBLE CHANGES FOR 30 WARRANT ARTICLES.

IT MAY HAVE BEEN A SMALL CROWD BUT IT WAS A RELATIVELY CONTENTIOUS SESSION, WITH MUCH OF THE DISCUSSION FOCUSING ON THE ROLE THE MUNICIPAL BUDGET COMMITTEE PLAYS IN THE BUDGET PROCESS – WHETHER IT HAS TOO MUCH POWER – AND WHETHER IT SHOULD BE CHANGED TO AN ADVISORY BOARD.

THE PROPOSED TOWN OPERATING BUDGET OF ABOUT $9,053,000 WAS RECOMMENDED BY THE BUDGET COMMITTEE BUT NOT BY THE BOARD OF SELECTMEN. DURING THE MEETING, SEVERAL ADDITIONAL AMENDMENTS TO RAISE THE PROPOSED BUDGET AMOUNT WERE PASSED.

THE FIRST WAS A PROPOSAL TO ADD $70,500 TO COVER TOWN COSTS FOR ROAD SALT AND FUEL – AND TO RESTORE SOME OF THE STREETLIGHTS THAT HAVE BEEN SHUT OFF AROUND CONWAY.

THE SECOND PROPOSAL WAS TO ADD NEARLY $5,000 DOLLARS BACK INTO THE CONWAY PUBLIC LIBRARY BUDGET.

AND THE THIRD PROPOSAL WAS TO ADD $21,000 BACK TO THE POLICE DEPARTMENT BUDGET. $9,000 OF THAT WAS FOR THE OPERATING BUDGET AND $12,000 FOR VEHICLE MAINTENANCE.

WITH ALL THREE PROPOSALS PASSING, THE PROPOSED TOWN OPERATING BUDGET CONWAY VOTERS WILL CONSIDER APRIL 10TH WILL BE ABOUT $9,149,000.

THE MAJORITY OF PROPOSED ARTICLES WILL BE ADDED TO THE OFFICIAL WARRANT WITHOUT CHANGES FOR VOTERS TO CONSIDER.

CONWAY POLICE LT. CHRIS PERLEY PRESENTED AN ANALYSIS OF INCREASING CRIME IN CONWAY AND THE RELATIVELY SMALL NUMBER OF POLICE OFFICERS TRYING TO DEAL WITH IT. VOTERS WILL BE ASKED TO CONSIDER ADDING ONE PATROL OFFICER TO THE CONWAY DEPARTMENT AND WHETHER THEY WANT THE TOWN TO ATTEMPT TO GET FEDERAL GRANT MONEY THAT WOULD PARTIALLY FUND THE HIRING AND COSTS OF ANOTHER NEW FULL TIME OFFICER.

A DISCUSSION OF THE STATUS OF THE BUDGET COMMITTEE AND TWO PROPOSED ARTICLES TO EFFECTIVELY ABOLISH IT AND CHANGE ITS STATUS TO AN ADVISORY COMMITTEE LASTED FOR AN HOUR AND A HALF – AND TURNED EMOTIONAL – AND SOMETIMES PERSONAL.

THE MEETING RAN NEARLY FOUR HOURS AND FINISHED AROUND 11 P.M.