DURHAM — Residents at the annual town meeting Saturday will be asked to spend up to $2.86 million to buy land, build a garage, purchase equipment and staff a public works department.

The annual town meeting and election gets under way at 7:45 a.m. Friday, April 5, when residents convene at the community school to elect a moderator. Polls will be open from 8 a.m. through 8 p.m. for the municipal election by secret ballot.

The business meeting to consider the 39-article warrant will reconvene at 9 a.m. Saturday at the school.

Voters will be asked to approve is Article 28, to “create” a Public Works Department and to spend up to $2,869,650, and to authorize municipal officers to issue notes in that amount.

The department would have six full-time employees and four part-time employees. Anticipated equipment needs are six equipped plows/dump trucks, two equipped one-ton trucks, one loader backhoe, one excavator and one 20-ton equipment trailer.

If approved, the town will purchase 10 acres of land close to the center of town, build a 60,000-square-foot building, an outbuilding, 3,000-gallon above-ground fuel depot and a generator.

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Other big-ticket items on the warrant include the purchase of a used ladder truck for the Fire Department for up to $240,000 and financed over six years. The sum of $40,000 from the Fire Department capital improvement account would be used to make the first payment.

Other expenditures proposed are: roads, $352,175; winter roads, $677,358; capital road projects, $225,000; solid waste, $198,459; and salaries and benefits, $201,593.

Selectmen are proposing a $2,278,496 budget. This will be offset by the following transfers: $831,113 from Fund Balance, $339,612 from Undesignated Accounts, and $84,510 from the Fire and Rescue Account, leaving a total of $1,023,260 to be raised through taxation. That’s $4,257 more than last year, according to administrative assistant Janet Smith.

The Budget Committee is recommending that all articles be approved as proposed.

Voters will also be asked to enact a new 19-page flood plain management ordinance to replace the one adopted in 2005.

The town report, which is dedicated to the late Frank M. Bowie, who was active in all facets in local government and served in the state Legislature, is now available at the Town Office.

The county tax bill is estimated at $364,386.

The RSU 5 budget will be voted on at a later date.


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