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2021 Virtual Town Meeting Q&A

At the meeting held February 16th, 2021, the Select Board adopted the provisions of HB 1129, which allows the Deliberative Session of Town Meeting to be held virtually in two parts. On Tuesday, March 30th, the Select Board held an Information Session to present the warrant articles, and questions and comments relevant to the presented information were accepted via phone, text, mail, and drop-off. 

The Question & Answer Session held on Tuesday, April 6th presented the questions received up to that point, along with the answers. All future questions (submitted through May 10th) and answers will be added to this page as they are received and addressed. If you would like to submit a question or comment, please include your full name and street address.  Questions and comments can be submitted via:
Phone: (603) 924-8000, ext. 101
Mail (or drop-off in secure mail slot):
      Select Board
      Town of Peterborough
      1 Grove Street
      Peterborough, NH 03458

Clicking the '>' next to each question will populate the answer.

Article 1. Election of Officers

Who's up for reelection this year?  What positions are open?
To find a list of positions up for reelection, please vist this page

Article 2. Zoning Amendment

Why was Article 2: Zoning Amendment by Petition not read at last week's reading of the Warrant? It is on the Warrant and people will be voting on it, so I would think it should be read. Please read it tonight. - Stephanie Hurley, Hunt Road
The Virtual Town Meeting is meant to stand in for the Deliberative Session. Both Article 1 (offices for election) and Article 2 (zoning amendments) go through separate processes that are not subject to the Deliberative Session, as outlined by Peterborough’s Charter. Zoning amendments follow a process outlined in RSA 675:4 whereby the Planning Board holds public hearings before they are placed on the ballot.
It seems that under the current regulations, the Planning Board can override OSRD on their own initiative or in response to an applicant's request. The passage of article 2 evidently eliminates the first alternative, but can the applicant achieve the same outcome by applying for a variance? - Bob Haring-Smith, 305 Old Sharon Road
Answer provided by Town Planner Danica Melone:

You are correct that if Article 2 passes at Town Meeting, applicants may still achieve the same outcome (asking for waivers or modifications) by applying for a Variance from the Zoning Board of Adjustment.

Article 3. Budget for Fiscal Year 2022 - $15,817,741

How does the proposed police budget and any other relevant budgets reflect the input that was collected in the many conversations on racism and policing held over the past year as well as the outcomes of the NH Commission on Policing? This is an opportunity to answer the important question of "So what?" after time and money was invested in our beginning as a community to explore these issues together. - Mary Vallier-Kaplan, Timberpond Road
The proposed Police Department Budget includes
• $15,000 to support a Community Resources Specialist at the River Center
• $15,000 for officer training, up from $5,000 the previous year.
Chief Guinard addresses the enhanced training that the officers have already begun receiving, as well as other outcomes of the New Hampshire Commission on Law Enforcement Accountability, Community, and Transparency report in his submission for the town’s 2020 Annual Report, which will be available on the Town’s website before May 4, 2021
In the document MS 636 , why is the Planning & Zoning Budget for the year ending 6/2021 and next year ending 6/2022 so much higher than it was in the fiscal year ending 6/2020? It went from  $22,075  to $429,207. For what reason is it staying up at $315,405 for 2022? - Stephanie Hurley, 75 Hunt Road

The MS 636 (Dept. of Revenue) for 6/30/2020 is fed automatically from the Auditors MS 535. In order to get a true comparison, you need to combine Planning & Zoning-Page 1, and Economic Development- Page 4.
We differ from how the Auditors classify some expenditures, but both ways of showing them on the form are technically correct. The attached MS 636 is highlighted to illustrate.



FY 21 Budget

FY 22 Budget


Page #




Planning & Zoning






Economic Development






Combined Total






$ Change





% Change





Article 6. Roadway System Upgrades Capital Reserve Fund - $400,000

Is rehabilitation of Pine Street scheduled and for when? - William Kennedy, Pine Street
Pine St. is on the town’s list of identified roads in need of costly rehabilitation work; work that is funded through this warrant article for roadway rehabilitation. As of now, the town is aiming for the completion of the Main St. Bridge project before undertaking any costly downtown roadway rehabilitation projects. This is for two primary reasons:

First, the interruptions in traffic related to the Main St. bridge closure, though curbed by Covid‐19, are not unsubstantial and the town does not want to add additional inconvenience at this time. With the Main St. Bridge scheduled for substantial completion at the end of this year, we are currently aiming for the summer of 2022 for Pine St. resurfacing.

Second, Pine St. needs substantial work beyond just resurfacing, including sidewalk repair, curb resetting, stormwater drainage repairs and upgrades, and utility structure repairs and upgrades. To that, we have begun saving funds in anticipation of costly repair work through the Roadway Systems Expendable Trust. The account presently has a balance of $252,000; money the town has been saving toward needed downtown repairs, including those needed on Pine St. Our aim is to continue saving a portion of the expendable trust each year so that funding will be available to deal with the related infrastructure in our downtown network.

Paving and reconstruction work is scheduled following spring road inspections and after passage of the operating budget and roadway expendable trust.
What role might the Greater Downtown TIF play in funding the rehabilitation of lower Main following the bridge project? Are there plans to redesign lower Main or have it just reconstructed? - William Kennedy, Pine Street
The planning process & public engagement will begin late summer/early fall of this year, and will include the Downtown TIF Advisory Board and other stakeholders. 

Article 7. Ambulance Revolving Fund - $400,000

Sorry if I missed it, but why the reduction in revenues and increase in expenses for Ambulance services? - Bill Kennedy, Pine Street
As discussed during the ambulance service budget presentation to the Select Board and Budget Committee there was a significant reduction in calls for service, both emergency calls and transfers, from the period of March through August 2020. This drop in call volume resulted almost a $250,000 reduction in revenue.

Once we realized the significance of the drop in call volume we implemented as many cost cutting measures as we could , but with less than three (3) months left in the fiscal year, and 73% of our costs related to staffing, there was not a lot of savings we could implement. We were however able to reduce the increase that year by 20% to 3.8% as opposed to the four (4) year average of 4.7%.
What if any COVID-related relief funds from the state and fed can be used to offset the reduction in Ambulance revenue and increased costs? Bill Kennedy, Pine Street
With regards to COVID‐related relief funds and if they can be used to offset the reduction in ambulance service revenue, we are still waiting for guidance from Treasury on how those funds can be applied. We do know that the funds will come in two equal payments, one which we will likely receive before the end of this fiscal year, and the second a year from now. Based on the estimates we have received, Peterborough’s first allotment will be less than the $400,000 this article seeks to transfer from the general fund to the ambulance revolving fund.

Article 8. Broadband Buildout - $262,288

Have we gotten any feedback on how well the CCI broadband services are being received by the Chesterfield, Jaffrey and Dublin communities, especially in light of the page 2 article in the 4/1 issue of the Monadnock Ledger‐ Transcript detailing complaints of service and lower‐than‐expected communications speeds? - Bill Kennedy, Pine Street
Our understanding is that 95% of CCI’s new broadband customers are satisfied with their service. Some installations, particularly in Rindge were more difficult than expected due to weather issues, but those have largely been resolved. Our conversations with representatives of Chesterfield have been very complementary. Other complaints have come from a misunderstanding of how to best measure internet speeds, particularly the difference between taking a speed test when directly connected to a gigabit modem vs. over wifi.
Are we aware of possible infrastructure‐related broadband funds available through the state and/or feds? - Bill Kennedy, Pine Street
We are looking into whether or not we qualify for a USDA grant. If we do qualify and are awarded the grant, the Select Board can accept the grant through a 31:95‐b public hearing process and use those funds to offset the tax appropriation.
Are we aware of the potential limitations on those funds (referring to NH SB85)? - Bill Kennedy, Pine Street
SB 85 has passed the NH Senate and is making its way to the House. As it is currently written, it appears that it only applies to funds sent to states for support of broadband expansion, and not to grants or loans awarded directly to municipalities.
By how much will our tax rate increase if this warrant passes? - Bill Kennedy, Pine Street
Tax rates are notoriously difficult to predict because there are so many variables involved, the biggest of which is the total valuation of the town. We expect that the total valuation will change dramatically after the statistical update the Assessing Department will be undertaking this summer and fall. Having said that, if all things remain equal, the town portion of the tax rate will increase by only 0.5% if all warrant articles, including this one, are passed at Town Meeting.
Are there any TIF regions included in the 20% of those underserved areas and could those funds be used to offset the investment to CCI? - Bill Kennedy, Pine Street
The funds being requested by this warrant article are to extend broadband service to the unserved areas of Peterborough, outside of all TIF Districts. No TIF District funds can be applied to this project.

Article 11. Commit to a goal of $100% Renewable Energy - BY PETITION

Will residents be forced by Article 11 to buy expensive equipment like solar panels or electric cars? - Nora Fiffer, Village Lane
This article does not mandate the purchase of any equipment.

Answer submitted by lead petitioners:

No. Peterborough can reach the goal of having electricity from 100% renewable resources without citizens installing solar panels by putting NH’s bipartisan Community Power law to work for us. We still encourage you to consider solar panels for your house if your circumstances permit. The article also does not require anyone to buy an electric vehicle, although well before 2050 their price (as the cost of batteries drops) and availability will likely make them the vehicle of choice. GM, for example, has already announced that they plan to eliminate gas- and diesel-powered light vehicles from their offerings by 2035.

Will assistance or incentives (financial or otherwise) be provided to people who want to add solar panels or heat pumps? - Mary Ellen Bushnell, Timberpond Drive
Answer submitted by lead petitioners: offers rebates, incentives, and tips to help homeowners to reduce their energy bill and be more energy efficient, including rebates for heat pumps. The Federal Government offers tax credits for solar panels, electric vehicles, and other energy-saving devices, with a promise of more to come. With passage of the article we expect that town residents will be connected with resources that will help us reach the goal.
If this is passed, how can residents get renewable electricity if we can't afford or aren't able to put up solar panels? - Annie Henry
Answer submitted by lead petitioners:

A successful town-wide 100% renewable energy transition will not require every Peterborough resident to install solar panels on their roofs. There is a way to provide all residents access to affordable renewable energy, regardless of income level or home ownership status: Community Power. In 2019, the New Hampshire legislature passed the Community Power Law, which enables towns to purchase and provide electricity for their residents and businesses on a cost-competitive basis and control where their energy comes from. This would enable Peterborough to draw electricity from renewable energy sources at an affordable rate. It is also important to note that your involvement in Community Power would be voluntary. Consumers can opt out of the program at any time.

Learn more about how Peterborough can use Community Power to help provide affordable electricity from renewable energy sources at

Will Warrant Article 11 (100% Renewable Energy) raise my taxes? - Nancy Roberts
Answer submitted by lead petitioners:
No, this warrant article will not raise your taxes. In fact, with renewable energy costs continuing to decrease, we anticipate that the widespread use of renewables could help residents save money. The NH communities that have begun to implement their 100% renewable energy commitments have not raised taxes due to this goal and all have saved money on their renewable projects.
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