DURHAM — Town Meeting will vote April 6 on what a selectman called a “critically important” $2 million bond to improve local roads, a new Comprehensive Plan, and a new plow truck.

The municipal budget could go up to $3.5 million from $3 million, according to Town Administrator Ruth Glaeser. It does not include the Regional School Unit 5 budget that will be voted on by referendum June 11.

If all 45 warrant articles pass, the municipal portion of the $19.70 property tax rate will increase by about 17.7 percent, from $3.96 per $1,000 of real estate valuation to $4.66. The impact on the overall tax rate would be a 3.5 percent increase.

Town Meeting will be held at the Durham Community School beginning at 9 a.m. Voting in municipal elections, all of which are uncontested, will be from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday, April 5, at the school.

The proposed $500,000 budget increase includes the $220,000 plow truck and a $251,000 payment toward the $2 million road bond that was approved by voters at Town Meeting in 2018 instead of a proposed $4 million.

This year’s proposed $2 million 10-year road bond is expected to be issued at an average interest rate of 2.59 percent, and will require interest payments of nearly $316,000, for a total debt service of more than $2.4 million. 

“It is critically important that this bond passes,” Nadeau said. “Unfortunately, over the last 20 years or so Durham as a town didn’t focus enough on road work and improvements so we have a pretty big backlog of work. 

“Some roads have degraded to the point where they’re almost unplowable by the snow plow.”

Those roads include Meadow Road and Plummer Mill Road, he said.

The addition of a new plow truck will cost $220,000 and replaces a 20-year-old vehicle. The funds will be transferred from the designated fund balance to the public works capital fund.  

Elections

Two seats on the Board of Selectmen are up for election. Selectman Rob Pontau is running again after winning a special election in June 2017. Marc Farrin, whose term on the Budget Committee expires this year, is running for the other seat, which is being vacated by Vice Chairman Mark Blake.

On the Regional School Unit 5 Board of Directors, Chairwoman Michelle Ritcheson, is seeking re-election. Ritcheson has been on the board for the last six years and has been chairwoman for the last three.

On the Budget Committee, Vice Chairwoman Jill Gastonguay is seeking re-election. Two other open seats on the committee will be filled by write-in votes. Absentee voting is available through April 1.

Patti McDonald can be reached at 780-9123 or [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter: @pmcdonaldme.