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April 03. 2013 10:46PM

Derry councilors to take on budget later this month

DERRY - The Town Council will begin reviewing the town administrator's proposed $37,143,566 fiscal year 2014 million budget on Thursday, April 18.

If passed as presented, the budget will see a 9 cent increase in the town's property tax rate, according to Town Administrator John Anderson.

The proposed budget is actually $2,676,176 less than the current fiscal year's budget, but the town is expecting to see just over a $3 million decrease in revenues in the coming year, according to Anderson.

Anderson is proposing the elimination of the Taylor Library budget, which was just over $170,000 for the current year.

"The budget continues to walk a very delicate balance between delivering essential core services and insuring public safety, and maintaining capital projects necessary for the ongoing health of our community," said Anderson. "I would note that, unlike business organizations for the most part, decline in revenue does not result in decline in demand for town services."

The employee pension costs for the town are up by $636,000, or just under 24 percent, as the result of the New Hampshire Retirement System significantly increasing employer costs for fiscal years 2014 and 2015.

The proposed budget includes the two enterprise fund budgets of water and wastewater, the cable special revenue fund (funded by Comcast subscribers), and the debt service for the Ash Street and Route 28 corridor TIF districts, totaling almost $6.4 million.

"On the positive side, the proposed budget is aided by a projected increase in motor vehicle registration revenue of $96,000, a 2.2 percent increase," said Anderson. "On the negative side, we continue to suffer the loss of $458,000 of state shared revenue and business profits tax, which is not likely to be restored in the foreseeable future."

The budget also includes a revised six-year capital improvement plan for fiscal years 2009 through 2014, with $3.35 million in the capital improvement plan for fiscal year 2014.

Major items in the capital improvement plan include a recycling baler for the transfer station, replacing the police department's cruiser fleet, ongoing water main replacements, and construction of a new water booster station on Rockingham Road.

The Town Council's review of the budget begins on April 18, with a public hearing scheduled for Thursday, May 2.

The council is scheduled to vote on the proposed budget on Tuesday, May 6.

Council member Brad Benson said the proposed municipal budget sees a 9 cent increase in the town tax rate, while the school budget that was approved for fiscal year 2014 will increase property tax rates by as much as $3.40.

aswift@newstote.com


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