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Duxbury to finalize budget tonight

By Lisa Loomis

The Duxbury Select Board is meeting tonight in hopes of paring its 2014 budget down a bit. As the budget stands right now, it will lead to a 6 cent increase in the town's tax rate.

The meeting takes place at the town garage meeting room at 6 p.m.

The select board's working budget shows many level funded line items and very few notably large increases. The town highway department budget for sand is going from $20,000 to $28,000 and the gravel budget is going from $20,000 to $27,000. This year the town is budgeting $12,500 for new tires for its grader. The town's legal budget for 2014 is $8,000, up from last year's budgeted $5,000 and last year's actual of $1,102.

The total road department budget is going up from $439,360 to $497,000. The road crew employees are receiving a 2.84 percent salary increase, which accounts for $3,390 of that increase. The town is adding a fourth part-time road crew employee, which accounts for $5,000 of that overall increase.

The town clerk and treasurer budgets are dropping slightly, from $65,279 to $65,159. That portion of the budget includes the town clerk, treasurer, assistant clerk and a new proposed assistant treasurer position. While the assistant town clerk is getting a 6.38 percent increase from $9,400 to $10,000, the salary situation for the clerk and treasurer is less clear.

In December, town clerk and treasurer Ken Scott resigned as treasurer and remains as town clerk. When he worked both jobs, he was paid $41,000. When he resigned as treasurer his compensation was reduced by $6,000 and he was paid $35,000 per year. The select board appointed Kym Andrews to replace him at $6,000 per year until Town Meeting.

The select board's 2014 budget reduces the compensation for the town clerk from $35,000 to $24,245, which the board says is based on needing the town clerk only three days a week versus four. That accommodates needing a town treasurer two days a week versus one, according to the board.

Last year the treasurer rate was $6,000 for one day a week. Next year it is proposed at $16,754 for two days a week.

The combined salary for the clerk/treasurer used to be $41,000, which translates to an hourly wage of $19.71. Under this year's proposed budget the new treasurer's rate will be $20.13 per hour while the clerk's hourly rate is reduced from $19.71 to $19.42.

And while the select board is looking to pare more money from its proposed budget, it is the town voters who will make the final decision on which line items get raised and which line items get lowered. Duxbury, like most Vermont towns, adopts its budget from the floor at Town Meeting, which means that every figure in the proposed budget can be discussed or amended from the floor.

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