Londonderry Town Manager Kevin Smith released a State of the Town Address yesterday, October 17, 2014. The report covered topics such as the Town Budget, Pettengill Road, new features on the Town’s website, and more. The complete text from the report follows.
Members of the Town Council, the Budget Committee, other elected officials, and citizens of Londonderry, it is my pleasure to present to you the 2014 State of the Town report.
Under our revised budget approval process as adopted by the voters in March of 2011, the Town Council is responsible for submitting a recommended operating budget, which can be amended at this Deliberative Session. The voters on March 11th will then vote to approve or reject the budget; if rejected, the Town would operate under the Default Budget.
The Council’s recommended budget for FY15 is below the Default Budget by approximately $31,000, and reflects an expenditure increase of 1.6% over the FY14 operating budget. There are several initiatives in this year’s warrant to address a number of timely issues: building improvements to the Public Works garage, state mandated commercial and industrial assessment updates, overtime needs in the Fire Department, and a continuation of the reserve program for town building maintenance which promotes tax rate stability. In addition, as we continue to re-prioritize long-term financial goals for the community, it is our intention to restore our undesignated fund balance to a level where it can be utilized as a funding source to enhance our equipment reserve program, roadway maintenance, as well as plan for additional projects in the future. That being said, while the 2013 approved warrant, increased the Town side tax rate by $0.34, should this year’s warrant be approved, the tax rate increase in 2014 will be just $0.07.
Although the economy continues to improve, it does so at a very slow pace, and we expect that to continue for the foreseeable future; however, staff continues to work on projects that will position the Town to capitalize on growth in the non-residential sector when economic conditions return to more steady growth. Our economic development staff continues to receive a growing number of inquiries about potential development at Pettengill Road and as such, we continue to work with state and federal officials, as well as private industry to secure non-local funding for the this project and its anticipated benefits accruing to the Airport region and the entire state. We also look forward to working with the Planning Board and the community on a number of other anticipated projects such as the Woodmont Commons development, who’s Master Plan was approved this past September, as well as the implementation of the Town’s own Master Plan. As one economic analyst recently opined in Business NH Magazine, “Londonderry is hot right now… I can’t think of another community that has the kind of opportunities that Londonderry has.” Needless to say, we couldn’t agree more.
If you haven’t done so already, I would also like to invite you to check out the Town’s website as some new features have been added, including: paying property taxes on-line, as well as motor vehicle registrations and dog license fees. The Town now accepts credit cards for payment of these fees, both on- line and at Town Hall. Finally, if you’re a fan of social media, be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for updates on Town news and information.
In addition to the awards and recognitions given out earlier, I would also like to recognize the outstanding service of some other personnel who are no longer with us; former Town Clerk/Tax Collector Meg Seymour (12), and Executive Assistant Margo Lapietro (9). It is with deep gratitude that we recognize the service both of these women provided to the Town of Londonderry.
Having been on the job for about six months now, I can honestly say the occasion to serve as your Town Manager has been a great blessing as it has afforded me the opportunity to give back to a community that has given so much to me and my family over the years. I wish to thank the Department Heads and employees, who, because of their experience and professionalism have made my job all the more enjoyable. Finally, I would be remiss if I did not extend my sincere appreciation and gratitude toward Police Chief Bill Hart and the members of the Town Council. Chief Hart was and continues to be the consummate professional during my transition to the Town Manager position, assuring I was brought up to speed on every pressing matter facing the Town. His continued counsel and institutional knowledge have proved invaluable, for which I am very thankful. I would also like to thank the Town Council for placing their trust in me as the Town’s Manager and for on-going support and guidance. I look forward to working with them, and all Town staff, as we continually strive to improve the services we deliver to the people of this great community. Thank you.