DerryNews.com, Derry, New Hampshire

December 13, 2012

Budget proposed at $27.5M

Residents can weigh in Dec. 17

By Julie Huss
jhuss@derrynews.com

---- — LONDONDERRY — Residents will have a list of 16 warrant articles to consider at the polls in the spring.

Town officials said last week the 2013 town warrant would include articles asking for $101,000 for an additional school resource officer and appropriations for a Roadway Maintenance Fund.

One article calls for the town to put $710,000 in a capital reserve fund already established to purchase town vehicles, including money for a $75,000 ambulance, $150,000 for highway vehicles and fire trucks totaling $335,000.

The town would only have to raise $310,000 through taxes; the remainder, if approved, would come from a fund balance amount.

Other articles deal with collective bargaining agreements between the town and its workers.

Voters will consider a proposed $27.5 million town budget for next year. Last year’s approved town budget was $26.7 million.

If approved, next year’s budget would require the town to raise approximately $16.3 million in property taxes, a $4.74 tax impact per $1,000 of valuation. If defeated, the default budget would be $27.6 million.

Acting Town Manager William Hart said the goal is to keep the budget within $110,000 of the default amount. He said about 40 percent of that is made up of salary and benefit adjustments.

Library staff already gave up cost-of-living salary adjustments in the amount of $22,500 for next year to help save money. More adjustments may come for additional non-union staff, something resident Dan Bouchard said was not right.

“Personally, I have a problem with that,” Bouchard said. “I was here in town when we had one union in town. Now, practically everybody is (represented) by a union.”

He said the town’s workers do a good job.

“I think this is a bad move,” he said.

Some increases in the budget are out of the town’s control, Hart said, including the town being responsible for $727,000 more due to downshifts in retirement and health-care costs for workers.

“It’s important for people to realize that when they see the increases,” Hart said. “It’s really for things we don’t have much control over. We had to make up the difference.”

A public hearing on the town budget is set for Dec. 17 at 7 p.m. at the Moose Hill Council Chambers at town hall on Mammoth Road.