By Julie Huss
---- — DERRY — The town’s budget season is beginning and the proposed numbers are now in the Town Council’s hands.
Budget workshops are scheduled that will mean many nights of analyzing town department numbers, wish lists and how money should be spent.
Public Works was the first town department to present its numbers earlier this week.
Other departments will come before councilors in the annual parade of numbers and requests for money.
Acting Town Administrator Larry Budreau gave councilors his budget comments at a meeting April 1.
Right now, the proposed fiscal year 2015 budget is $36.9 million. But that can change as workshops get underway and councilors make spending decisions.
That amount is 0.2 percent less than the current budget of $37 million. If approved as it stands, it would mean a 2 cent increase in the town tax rate, up from $10.39 to $10.41, a $5 increase in the tax bill for a $250,000 home.
Derry also has to keep its budget within a tax cap as outlined in the town’s charter.
The budget also includes the town’s revised six-year capital improvement plan for fiscal years 2015-2020. CIP items total $1.47 million for fiscal year 2015.
Key items on that capital list are replacement of a sidewalk tractor for $150,000, a new 35-ton vehicle lift at a cost of $90,000, ongoing water and sewer upgrades and replacements at $220,000, and replacement of a town backhoe for $154,000.
In his budget message, Budreau said the proposed numbers for next year, if approved, will provide the same level of service the community is accustomed to while investing in a proactive approach to the future of Derry’s economic success and development.
The budget also has funding for the town to settle union contracts. Right now, five of Derry’s seven unions do not have approved contracts.
Budreau also said the town will continue its “pay as you go” approach to handling infrastructure maintenance and improvements.
“Derry has good roads because of the ‘pay as you go,’” he said.
Budget review workshops and public hearings will be held to go over department requests and numbers.
“I set out to provide you a budget that was responsible and what was required,” Budreau said.
Budget workshops on the schedule are April 17, April 22, April 24. The public hearing on the budget is April 29. The Town Council is scheduled to finalize the town’s budget May 20.