The Fayston Select Board will present voters with a 2016 town budget that is up 3.7 percent from the 2015 budget.
The proposed budget comes in at $1,159,367, up from last year’s actual budget of $1,041,398. The approved budget for 2015 was $1,117,498. Fayston went into this budget year with a $174,890 fund balance which will offset this year’s bottom line.
Much of the budget that the select board crafted is flat lined with a few exceptions. The town’s contribution to the Mad River Valley Solid Waste Alliance is increasing from $5,412 to $8,118.
The cost of health care for town employees was budgeted at $131,100 last year and the actual amount spent was $107,411. This year the same $131,100 is proposed.
The drop in the price in the global oil market can be seen in the reduction in the cost of fuel for the road department with $40,000 budgeted for diesel fuel this year, compared to $50,000 last year and actual 2015 costs of $32,922. The town’s gasoline costs were budgeted at $700 last year and at $400 this year, with 2015 actual spending of $243. That led for a reduction in the town highway equipment line from a budgeted $104,200 to a proposed $95,900. The actual spent in 2015 was $83,706.
Members of the town road crew, whose hourly rates range from $18 to $22 an hour, received a 2 percent wage increase for the coming year. During the budgeting process last month, the select board discussed with road foreman Stuart Hallstrom about the policy of paying road crew members triple-time pay on holidays. Select board members questioned whether the policy was excessive, but left it in place after discussing the matter with Hallstrom who pointed out how little it represented in the budget. He also noted that road crew members have no flexibility on holidays and if they have to go out and give up family time, they should be incentivized to do so. The board left that policy in place.
The select board proposed increasing continuing education funds for town clerk and treasurer Patti Lewis. She will receive a $1,200 professional development stipend in lieu of a salary increase. The assistant town clerk and treasurer received a $500 raise.
The board also allocated $40,000 for town usage of Fayston Elementary School, up from the $20,000 that was budgeted last year but on par with the 2015 actual spending of $40,000. At Town Meeting 2015, voters approved amending that budget item from $20,000 to $40,000.
Fayston voters will also be asked to approve line item additions to the town capital budget program. The board proposed adding $30,000 to the $92,000 that is in the road construction fund, adding $80,000 to the $30,000 that is in the equipment reserve fund in anticipation of replacing the town pickup truck and loader in the next few years. The board is also proposing adding $80,000 to the $220,000 in the road retreatment fund.
A sum of $40,000 is proposed for the fire equipment fund. The bridge reserve fund, which has a balance of $155,000, is slated for a $5,000 annual contribution this year. There are other line items in the capital reserve budget. The total proposed for this year is $257,500.