Town Council Sets Goals

The Derry Town Council has finalized its goals for 2014 and unanimously accepted them.

The goals, originally drafted in November, were reviewed by the Council and approved 7-0 in the first portion of a Special Meeting Jan. 28.

Acting Town Administrator Larry Budreau presented the goals, codified into a report by the Primex insurance company.

The first goal was the possible consolidation of the town and school budgets, and the Councilors had been charged with reviewing previous reports by the New Hampshire Municipal Association and the Charter Commission. The other piece of this goal was to reinstate regular meetings between the town and School District officials.

Councilor Neil Wetherbee asked if all seven members had reviewed the two documents, and Chairman Michael Fairbanks said, “Not completely.” Wetherbee reminded members that they had received the material in December. There had also been some misconceptions about this goal, Wetherbee said.

“It’s a goal until someone says it isn’t,” Fairbanks responded.

Councilor Brad Benson said, “In order to move the community forward and slow the escalating tax rate, my goal is to see one budget, based on an affordable tax rate, without decreasing the level of services.” Benson said he wanted to see “one community, one budget, one goal.”

Member Tom Cardon agreed but warned, “If we’re going to put this in our goals, we should make sure it’s a long-term goal. It’s a long, drawn-out process.”

Wetherbee reminded them, “By state statute, we’re looking at two to three years out.”

The second goal is downtown redevelopment, with three pieces: Scheduling a workshop with the downtown “stakeholders,” reviewing the “Moving Derry Forward” material, and identifying a person to head downtown development.

The Move Derry Forward documents have been distributed to Councilors. The Council agreed to nail down a date for the stakeholders’ meeting during its Feb. 4 meeting.

The third goal is more efficiency in town government. Fairbanks said the Council will analyze data points from a list compiled by Budreau, look at current operations and trends, and try to find efficiencies that can be instituted in the 2016 budget.

“These are our goals until we amend them,” Fairbanks said.