With increase offset by less capital reserve contributions, Lyndeborough budget about flat

LYNDEBOROUGH – The town’s operating budget is up about $24,400, contributions to capital reserve accounts are down about $28,000, leaving a gross budget that is about flat.

The Lyndeborough operating budget totals $1,664,839. Contributions to reserve funds total $273,500.

The Budget Committee presented the budget to a handful of people on Feb. 11.

Committee Chairman Don Guertin said the budget includes a 1.5 percent cost-of-living increase for all employees. He noted computer expenses are now listed with each department instead of in a separate category.

Election costs have increased from $391 to $1,024 because there are three elections this year.

Legal expenses exceeded that line last year because of the cooperative school payment error, which will be decided by the court in the near future.

Health insurance has increased by 4.7 percent.

Repairs to Citizens’ Hall include addressing some moisture problems in the basement.

Increases in the Police Department budget include changing from two full-time officers to one, an increase of $9,000 for the police chief who will be working four more hours each week.

Because of a ruling by the IRS, payments to firefighters cannot be called “reimbursement.” It is now a stipend and the amount raised about $3,000 to cover the required taxes without cutting the amount each firefighter receives.

Whether the Fire Department buys a new chassis for the 1984 pumper is still pending.

Guertin said, at this point, they have not found what they want that will fit into the fire station.

“We hope to have an answer by Town Meeting,” he said.

State Highway Block Grant funds – $75,000 – will be divided between paving, payments on the backhoe and two plows, and this year’s projects, which include Center and Mountain roads.

Expected revenues are down about $96,000.

The Budget Committee declined to vote on whether to support the financial aspects of the school consolidation play, saying it was not within its jurisdiction and to do so would set a precedent.

The budget will be voted at Town Meeting, to be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 15, at Citizens’ Hall.

Voting will take place on Tuesday, March 11, at the Town Hall in Lyndeborough Center. The polls will be open from 10 a.m.-7 p.m.