By Julie Huss
---- — DERRY — It’s a busy time for town officials as budget season kicks off.
The proposed fiscal year 2014 budget numbers are now in town councilors’ hands. Budget review workshops and public hearings will be held to go over department requests and numbers, all keeping within Derry’s tax cap established by the town charter.
Next year’s proposed budget is $37,143,566, a decrease of $2,676,176 from the current year’s budget.
If passed as presented, the budget would mean a 9-cent increase in the property tax rate, according to Town Administrator John Anderson.
In his budget message for the proposed 2014 numbers, Anderson said the process is always a balancing act.
The work now begins to go over every department’s wish list and finances to get to the final budget number.
“The budget continues to walk a very delicate balance between delivering essential core services and insuring public safety, and maintaining investment in capital projects necessary for the ongoing health of our community,” Anderson said.
Part of that budget includes a controversial plan to eliminate funding for Taylor Library. The library’s budget for next year is about $176,000.
Other notable budget areas include an anticipated $3 million decrease in revenues.
“On the positive side, the proposed budget is aided by a projected increase in motor vehicle registration revenue of $96,000 or a 2.2 percent increase,” Anderson said. “On the negative side, we continue to suffer the loss of $458,000 of state shared revenue and business profits tax which is not likely to be restored in the foreseeable future.”
The budget also includes a revised six-year Capital Improvement Plan for fiscal years 2014 through 2019. CIP projects total $3.35 million for fiscal year 2014 and major projects include a recycling baler for the new transfer station at $400,000; replacement of a police marked cruiser fleet at a cost of $377,000; replacing two highway trucks; and replacement of a loader at the transfer station.
Other CIP items include $220,000 for ongoing water main upgrades and replacements, and construction of a new water booster station on Rockingham Road to the tune of $575,000.
Anderson thanked the town’s management team for its hard work.
“The entire management team of the town is to be commended for the excellent work done to prepare this budget,” he said.
Town Council begins workshops and public hearings this month. A public hearing on the budget is set for May 2; adoption of the budget and CIP is planned for May 14.