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Jul 29, 2015 7:03 AM

Derry councilors vote to stand by budget cuts and ignore petitions


DERRY - Tempers flared at Tuesday night's Derry Town Council meeting, and several people were thrown out of the chambers, escorted by police.

Derry resident Charlie Foote was one of them, concerned about budget cuts adopted by the seven-member council.

"Public safety is at risk. There are over 30,000 people in this town and four individuals are running it like tyrants," he said.

The council recently voted in cuts to the 2016 fiscal year budget. Those cuts have cost jobs, including some with the town's police and fire departments - even closing one fire station altogether.

Town Councilor Joshua Bourdon voted against the budget. "I think they're banking on the fact that they won't go the distance. But I think the people in this town are resilient and they're going to see it through," he said.

About 800 people signed petitions calling for those cuts to be decided by a public vote instead of by the council. Dozens came to Tuesday's meeting to try to convince the councilors to call for that vote.

Derry Councilor Mark Osborne voted for the cuts.

"A petition or a direct voter referendum cannot override that budget," he said. "The best way to achieve what the petitioners want to achieve would be to amend the town charter."

After putting off the decision last week until Tuesday's meeting, the council voted 4 to 3 to take no action -- in essence, standing by the cuts and ignoring the petitions.


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