Salem's full slate of outside human services will remain in the proposed operating budget after residents voted against a Board of Selectmen amendment to remove them.
During the Feb. 2 town deliberative session at Salem High School, residents voted 58-29 against the removal of $73,153 designated for nearly a dozen agencies.
The original plan was to have residents vote on the services separately under Article 13 on the town ballot. Residents later voted 70-19 to zero out that article.
Language was added at the suggestion of Salem resident Bernard William Campbell to let voters know that the money previously appropriated is now included in the budget.
Salem resident and Budget Committee member Paul Huard thanked the selectmen for referring to the agencies as "services," not "charities," but said he was upset about the effort to remove them from the budget.
"We need to take care of our people that need help, and that's not charity," Huard said. "I'll repeat the point is that every single thing the selectmen did was appreciated by the Budget Committee and myself, I think they did a lot of good work, but I think this is one thing that I cannot agree with"
Budget Committee Chairman Russell Frydryck, who sat next to the five selectmen at the head of the SHS auditorium, explained that history in Salem says that all of the outside human services were up as warrant articles for three straight years and received 'yes' votes.
Frydryck added that tradition in Salem says that after three years of passage, items are typically added to the budget.
Agencies that will remain in the budget include Rockingham Nutrition, Meals on Wheels, the Retired Senior Volunteer Program, A Safe Place, Big Brother/Big Sisters, Bridges, Community Health Services, Salem Family Resources and Greate Salem Caregivers.
The failed amendment also preserved $15,000 for Rockingham Community Action placed back into the budget in November by the Budget Committee. Article 13 did not include that funding.
Selectman Stephen Campbell defended the amendment and Article 13, explaining that change happens and that items need to be put back out to the voters for reaffirmation.
"Things should be reaffirmed periodically or we'd all still be riding horses and nobody would have changed to cars," he said.
Campbell also defended the groups being lumped into one article, saying that over 20 articles were already on the ballot.
Resident Tom Linehan backed Campbell, saying that he was partly involved in pushing for the SB2 form of government last year, and keeping the outside human services in the budget defeats the idea of SB2.
Paul Parisi backed the funding of the agencies in the operating budget.
"If the people of this town really wanted to have that much say, we would, following their mode, we would be voting on every single line item at this meeting," he said. "I think to have these particular agencies pulled out of the budget and have them in their own article is not right."