Waitsfield voters will be asked to approve a budget that is up 16 percent at Town Meeting next month. That’s according to the town’s fiscal year 2017 budget (FY17) summary.
Waitsfield’s current fiscal year runs from July 1, 2016, to June 30, 2017. The budget that will come before voters at Town Meeting on March 1 is the FY17 budget.
That summary also notes that the proposed budget will create a town tax rate of $0.3596, a 4.1 percent increase over the current year’s tax rate of $0.3442. For a residential property valued at $300,000 the FY17 municipal tax bill would be $1,079. That does not include education spending.
The town’s total expenses in FY17 are projected at 2,012,346. The total expenses in FY16 were budgeted at $2,781,938. Factoring in revenues yields net total expenses in FY16 of $1,368,966 and FY17 of 1,470,909.
Within that budget are FY17 town office expenses of $63,335, down from FY16 town office expenses of $72,004. That decrease is projected in anticipation of the town moving into its new town office and losing the expense of rent and utilities.
Town clerk and town treasurer expenses are up 6.5 percent including a 4.5 percent wage increase and an increase in the line item for ballot clerks from $345 to $1,635 in anticipation of a presidential election in November. Select board expenses, including the town administrator, website work and stipends, are down 3.9 percent thanks to a reduction in the line item for website work from $6,000 budgeted to $1,000 for FY17.
Road department labor costs are up 4 percent and as in many local towns, diesel and gas costs are down. Waitsfield’s diesel costs were budgeted at $27,000 for FY16 and are budgeted for $25,000 for FY17. Total road department expenses for FY17 are $334,818, up 2.8 percent from projected FY16 spending of $328,297. Budgeted FY16 road department spending was $325,703.
The cost of employee benefits for Waitsfield in FY17 is up 5.1 percent which includes a 6.3 percent increase in health care costs. Net fire department expenses are up 3.6 percent and public safety expenses are down 5.4 percent. Dues and assessments are up 15.6 percent, including a 50 percent increase in dues to the Mad River Resource Alliance, a 20 percent increase in funding for the Mad River Valley Rec District and a 33.7 percent increase in funding for the Mad River Valley Planning District.