By Cristina Kumka
The town Select Board voted last week to put an 18-month budget up to voters this coming March that will increase the town’s tax rate by about 1.28 cents per year. The rate will go from 44 cents for every $100 of property value that paid for the town’s last calendar year budget for 12 months to 46 cents, to pay for the new fiscal year budget that will cover 18 months.
The budget Article 3 states: “Shall the voters approve total general fund expenditures for the 18-month budget beginning January 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016 of $6,282,554 of which $243,550 shall be applied from the 2014 general fund balance, $3,732,950 shall be raised by property taxes, $2,082,277 in estimated non-property tax revenues, and $223,778 in estimated FEMA / Flood reimbursement?”
According to Town Manager Seth Webb, “This 18-month budget would result in an estimated tax increase of 1.28 cents a year.”
“The difference between the 18 month General Fund expense budget and the 2014 budget x 1.5 is $127,195 or a 2 percent increase,” Webb wrote in a recent email. He added “It’s important to note, that the proposed payment schedule (Article 2 on the Town Warning) would divide tax payments into four installments (instead of two), allowing taxpayers more time to pay their bill.”
The expense increases in the 18 month budget are capital costs for the Town Offices, Fire and Police equipment/ facilities, the library, and Rec. facilities, and operating cost including the following: After a two year experiment with a part time Rec. Director, the Rec. Commission and Selectboard recommended restoring the position to full time.
Similarly, after lots of public input and looking at best practices from other Resort Towns, the Board decided to increase one of our part time Police officers to full time. Other operating increases are: Board of Health expense, liability insurance, solid waste disposal, Teen Center demolition, winter road maintenance (Salt alone is a $20,000 more), Line Stripping, Emergency Generator and Fire Truck Maintenance, increased Fire Rescue Services, Resort Walkway extension planning, general operating and cost of living increases.
By Cristina Kumka