DERRY — Town and school officials met with local legislators at Pinkerton Academy last week to talk money and how to help residents when tax bills appear.
This type of meeting has not happened often.
With different factions seemingly going their own ways during budget season and all on different schedules and deadlines, officials are trying to end up on the same page.
“We want to try and work on developing a relationship in the town when we can all work together,” Town Council Chairman Brad Benson said. “Right now, we are running independently to a certain degree.”
Pinkerton Academy trustees and officials firm up their budget numbers in the fall. Derry School Board members are now in the thick of their season with the recent deliberative session held Saturday. The town is the last to begin budget work, with final numbers not approved until May.
Benson said it was good to gather and hear what everyone is working on and what could be done to help Derry’s tax rate.
Right now, the rate is $30.48, one of the state’s highest.
“We are not blaming anyone, but we have a tax problem in Derry,” Benson said, “and we’ll continue to have a tax problem in Derry if we don’t get together and solve it.”
The school district is dealing with less money coming to town from the state for adequacy funding and also has incurred higher retirement and health-care costs.
The proposed budget for next year is $81.9 million after voters Saturday agreed to restore $800,000 to help save jobs.
Pinkerton’s $36.4 million budget for next year shows a 2.99 percent increase over the high school’s current budget.
Students attending the high school from its contracted towns, including Derry, will pay $10,292 per student, an increase of $277.
Having Pinkerton, the Derry district, town and state representatives get on the same budget train in town would serve all parties, officials said.