For the last three + months, the Town Office and SAU staff, the Selectmen, the School Board, and the Budget Committee have been working vigorously on the (or I might say Your) budgets for the next year. Many hours are spent on the operating budget, capital reserve requests, capital improvement needs, warrant articles. Meetings have been held, public hearings conducted (the Budcom one on warrant articles had two residents attend). The meetings aired live on Channel 22 and if you missed them you can view them online at http://raymondtv.pegcentral.com.
Now it’s your turn. The School District deliberative meeting is Sat., February 1 at 10:00 a.m. The Town's is a week later on February 8. So what is a Deliberative meeting? It is an opportunity for you the residents to deliberate and debate the merits of each of the seven school warrant articles and the twenty-five Town articles. Things like the operating budget, spending money on road reconstruction, the 250th town celebration, the reopening of Carroll lake beach, a new roof for the High School, the funding of capital reserve accounts, the elimination of a district curriculum coordinator, reducing the number of people on the Budget Committee, making the town treasurer appointed vs. elected and others. What happens at these Deliberative sessions determines what you get to vote on March 11. Articles can be changed or possibly even fail to be placed on the ballot.
Are you looking for specifics? Are you confused over the wording? The SAU (http://www.sau33.com) and the town (http://www.raymondnh.gov) web sites both have voter information links on them with full budgets and warrant articles. The Raymond Voter Information Project (http://www.raymondvip.org) will soon publish its voters guide showing what the impact of a yes or no vote would mean and why one might vote one way or the other. While we might not see a lot in the state print media, but online publications like Raymond Area News (http://www.raymondareanews.com) and This Week in Raymond (http://thisweekinraymond.com) along with the Carriage Towne News (http://www.carriagetownenews.com) will certainly have news and commentary. But all of these are Useless...Useless Unless YOU take the time to read them.
Cannot make either meeting? Don't want to spend a half-day on stuff that will affect your property taxes or your school and town services? Raymond Community Television will broadcast live and record both events. If you don't have cable they will be available online at the web site listed above. Watch them at your leisure, skip to a specific section, re-play a part you need to hear over.
Please, Please, do what you need to be an informed voter on March 11. Because it not only affects your friends, your neighbors and family; but you and me.