DERRY — Residents will see a drop in their town tax rate, thanks to the Town Council’s recent approval of the budget.
Town councilors approved a $36.5 million town services budget for fiscal year 2015.
The decision came after one last push by Councilor Al Dimmock to revisit the Taylor Library’s $187,189 budget line. Councilors had approved that number earlier in the budget process, but some wanted to see it cut. They questioned whether the tiny library duplicated services already provided by the much larger Derry Public Library on East Broadway.
The embattled East Derry library survived a zero funding scare last year.
“I want to keep the Taylor Library open,” Councilor Tom Cardon said.
The group voted not to revisit the library budget.
Throughout the budget workshop season, councilors did cut some line items, including $112,300 for a community development coordinator job that included salary, benefits, and other start-up costs.
Another big cut was a $235,625 reduction in salary and benefit increases for staff members that were not mandated by contract.
Councilors also approved a revised six-year capital improvement plan for fiscal years 2015-2020. CIP items total $1.4 million for fiscal year 2015.
After the budget vote, councilors went on to approve a $50 increase for the veterans credit, bringing the credit up to $350.
There are 977 veterans using the credit; another 50 veterans receive the disabled veterans credit of $2,000.
Some councilors wanted the credit to be increased by $100, but others said it was best to raise the amount in increments.
“It’s a lot fairer to take a gradual approach to it,” Cardon said.
Town Council Chairman Mark Osborne said he could foresee another credit increase next year.
Dimmock wanted the $100 increase this year.
He said surrounding towns give their veterans more help than Derry.
“We’ve waited too long to increase the veterans credits,” he said. “Do you realize how long we’ve been at this rate? These veterans have been neglected by the town of Derry.”
The town’s current credit of $300 was approved in 2009.
Dimmock called the recent $50 increase an “insult.”
But Osborne said the $50 increase was fair.
With the budget approved, the town portion of the tax rate will drop from $10.39 to $10.22. With the veteran benefit increase, the tentative rate will now be $10.24. The official tax rate will be released this fall.