Moretown expecting budget increase

It’s budget season and the town of Moretown is well on its way to creating the budget for fiscal year 2020. At the Moretown Select Board meeting on Monday, January 6, town clerk and treasurer Cherilyn Brown presented a budget draft to select board members. Although the figures are not final, it looks like this year’s budget will be higher than the last.

While Moretown spent $1.2 million in FY19, the projected budget for FY20 hovers around $1.3 million. This increase is the result of several expenses that Moretown plans to fund this year, including $25,000 to build a sidewalk and $64,0000 to pay off a Dodge Ram truck purchased for the highway department. Another factor contributing to the projected budget increase for FY20 is a wage increase for road workers. “Wages are going up 2 percent,” said Brown, referring to road worker wages.

The board discussed ways to lean out the budget. Select board member Jason Aronowitz proposed one option: Stagger wage increases over several years instead of raising wages all at once. “We raised pay rates abruptly,” he told the board. Board chair Tom Martin disagreed with the idea to stagger wage increases.

“A lot of people are looking for good workers. We’re lucky we’ve had good workers here. It would be wrong to push them out on pay raises. If you look on Front Porch Forum, the sense of the towns is that they need to be paid more,” Martin said.

As the budget discussion came to a close, it looked like there were few opportunities to cut costs for FY20. “This is not so much a spending problem as it is a revenue problem,” said Martin. “There’s a revenue problem because we don’t have anything in Moretown.”