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On Monday, January 21, the Moretown Select Board finalized a budget of $1,068,802 for FY2014. This number reflects a 1.3 percent decrease from last year’s budget of $1,082,921.
Despite several increases in spending, Moretown was able to keep next year’s budget down as it continues to recover from Tropical Storm Irene. Last year, Moretown budgeted $50,000 for flood repairs from the storm, while this year it has only budgeted for $30,000.
Across the board, health care costs for town employees increased by approximately 15 percent for next year. Salaries for town employees also increased on a case-by-case basis, with the most considerable change to the road crew’s wages, which had previously fallen below those of comparable towns.
Auditors’ costs increased 105.21 percent for next year, from $6,515 to $13,370, as the CPA and bookkeeping costs went up by about $7,000.
Highway supplies costs increased by 44.2 percent for next year, from $82,000 to $118,250, as the town has put aside $24,000 more towards gravel and culvert costs. On the other hand, vehicle and highway equipment costs decreased by 23.74 percent, from $104,900 to $80,000, as Moretown invested $17,000 in a loader vehicle last year.
Moretown will not figure anticipated revenue into the budget until next fall, when the tax rate is set. Historically, that anticipated revenue has include about $500,000 in tipping fees from Moretown Landfill, and—as of now—the town plans to include the tipping fee again for FY2014. The future of Moretown Landfill lies in whether the state of Vermont will permit the landfill to re-open closed cells and/or expand and construct a new cell.
On Tuesday, January 29, the Warren Select Board agreed on a budget draft of $3,401,828 for FY2014. This number reflects a 28.04 percent increase over last year’s budget of $2,656,909, but it is subject to change until after next week’s capital budget meeting.
“It’s a pretty big jump,” select board member Bob Ackland said of the increase.
“We’ll have to be prepared to explain it,” select board member Anson Montgomery agreed.
Much of the budget increase comes from two major highway infrastructure projects scheduled for next year. Repairing Inferno Road will be about $441,000 in paving, gravel and other construction costs, and repairing the slide in West Hill Road will be about $395,000.
Warren will also spend a considerable amount of money on culverts next year, as the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) has implemented new guidelines for the drainage structures that nearly triples their cost of construction, and the town has several of them in need of repairs.
Health care costs for town employees will increase about 11 percent for next year, and salaries will increase about 3 percent across the board.
Additionally, Warren’s accounting and auditing costs will increase by 19 percent, as the town is required to have a single audit because it received over $500,000 in federal money in the past year, most of it from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) after Tropical Storm Irene.
The $3,401,828 budget draft number does not include anticipated revenue.