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Londonderry

June 12, 2014

Town manager releases freeze on spending

Smith reports budget in better shape

LONDONDERRY — The town’s spending freeze has ended and the financial outlook is good.

That’s the word from Town Manager Kevin Smith, who reported to town officials that the recent spending freeze had done its job helping get the town’s budget back on track.

Smith gave the news most recently to members of the Budget Committee, saying the freeze had produced positive numbers.

Numbers through May were “good news,” Smith said.

The freeze on all nonessential spending was put in place earlier this year to keep spending in check.

At that time, the town’s budget was running about 6 percent over the expenditure line, Smith said, with town revenue numbers also slightly behind.

The freeze was successful.

“Each month, we’ve been closing the gap,” Smith said.

By the end of May, the numbers looked good.

Traditionally, the town’s budget should be at around 92 percent spent by the end of May. By May 15 of this year, Smith said the town had spent 87 percent.

A big factor in spending remains legal costs the town pays for recent litigation concerning impact fees.

“That’s been the largest overrun,” Smith said.

He said a recent impact fee case against the town was settled, but has now been appealed to the state Supreme Court so the town continues to pay.

Another concern is fire department overtime costs, but the regular department budget is “right in line” with where it should be, Smith said, although overtime is running about $188,000 over budget.

As for town revenues, Smith said, the numbers are catching up to where they should be.

“At the end of May, we should be running at 91 to 92 percent,” he said. “By May 15, we had collected about 88.3 percent.”

Smith said he would continue to monitor the town’s spending.

He said just because the freeze is lifted, town departments still need to be mindful.

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