Lyndeborough budget hearing held

LYNDEBOROUGH – Recent snow storms have taken a toll on the town budget and it hasn’t even been voted yet. On Tuesday, Feb. 10, the Budget Committee added $7,000 to the overtime wages line to cover snowplowing.

“The budget is already shot,” Budget Committee Chairman Don Guertin said.

The committee added $7,000 for security systems for three town buildings and an additional $1,000 for electricity in anticipation of rising costs. The security systems were originally planned to be paid for at the end of the year out of surplus funds but members argued that would delay installation for another year.

The amended operating budget now totals $1,743,066. Warrant articles, including capital reserve accounts, total $662,800, for a total budget of $2,405,066. The 2014 budget totaled $2,079,833.

Estimated revenues are up over last year leaving an estimated increase in the total expenditures of about $16,000.

Security systems will be added to, or upgraded, at the Town Hall, Artillery Building, and the new storage shed on Center Road. Because of the age and intermittent use of the buildings, the systems will be of a residential type. Town Administrator Russ Boland said they would not meet standards for a commercial type. “Since the Fire Chief approves we can go this route,” he said.

The budget includes a 2 percent cost-of-living raise for all employees.

The legal expense line for 2014 is $166,494, and this year is the usual $25,000. The larger figure includes the $141,000 reimbursement paid to Wilton for an error made in the school assessment a few years go.

Center Hall repairs include $5,000 for the restoration of the 100-year-old hand-painted stage backdrop. The expense is expected to be covered by a Moose Plate Grant.

Recycling Center costs are down about $10,000 due to increased revenues. Purchase of a new ambulance has been pushed ahead and this year’s contributions will go toward a new motorized stretcher and upgrading heart monitoring equipment.

The town portion of the tax bill is expected to be about “40 cents of the tax rate,” Guertin said. The other portions include school and county.

Warrant articles include $59,800 to cover an engineering study of four portions of Mountain Road and to prepare a plan for an upgrade to be voted on next year. The funds will come from unexpended fund balance.

Other articles ask for a new Fire Department tanker at a cost of $350,000, $150,000 to come from a capital reserve account. The remaining $200,000 would be covered by a grant from Emergency Management Agency Assistance to Firefighters. If the grant is not received, the truck will not be purchased. The purchase of two thermal imaging cameras is also covered by a grant.

Voters will be asked to change the purpose of several equipment capital reserve funds to add “repairs” to the uses.

Selectmen are asking for authority to establish a Safety Services Complex study committee to study the future needs of and determine the best location for a new building for fire, police, and emergency management departments. They also ask that a capital reserve fund of $5,000 be established for the study committee should they need funds.

Town Meeting will be at 9 a.m., Saturday, March 14, at Citizens Hall. Voting will take place from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday, March 10, at Town Hall in Lyndeborough Center.