Waitsfield’s proposed budget for the coming fiscal year is up 1.5% over the prior year at $2,115, 419 or an increase of $32,033. The town’s fiscal year runs from July 1, 2021, to June 30, 2022.
Because there will be no live Town Meeting, all voting for budgets and town officers will take place by Australian ballot. Waitsfield will hold one more public hearing on its budget on January 25. Find Zoom information on the town’s website to participate.
Given the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s budget is aimed at minimizing the impact and increase for taxpayers. The town is able to keep the budget lean due to reduction of $85,000 in annual debt payments, a reduction of almost $7,000 in payroll due to the lack of an extra or 53rd pay period which the prior year’s budget included and a reduction of $15,000 in health insurance costs due to changes in the town’s employees.
Town Meeting expenses for the coming year are down $1,000 or 20.4%. Select board expenses are down 2.9% or $2,326. Planning and zoning expenses are rising by 22.6% or $10,833 because the town is changing its planning and zoning administrator position from 32 hours a week to 40. Those increased costs also come with increased benefit and retirement costs reflected in the line item for employee benefits.
The road department budget is up $3,600 from $92,430 to $96,030 an increase of $3,600, exclusive of road crew wages. Road crew salaries and overtime are proposed at $174,929, up from the prior year’s line item of $174,472.
The town’s dues and assessments are up $116 this year to $203,285 from $203,169. Line items in this section include. The Central Vermont Regional Planning Commission (up $35 from $2,135 to $2,170), the Joslin Memorial Library (up $1,020 from $63,466 to $64,486), the Mad River Resource Alliance (up $361 from $12,033 to $12,394), the Mad River Valley Planning District (down $1,253 from $45,320 to $44, 067), the Mad River Valley Recreation District (level funded at $30,000), the Vermont League of Cities and Towns (level funded at $3,209), Washington County tax (down $47 from $29,976 to $29,929) and the Mad River Valley Ambulance Service (this is the second year of a two-year commitment of $15,000 per year).
In terms of non-capital reserves, the proposed budget level funds $10,000 for the town’s restroom/recreation and conservation fund. Over the course of the last few years, the select board proposed reducing or eliminating this line item, only to have it restored from the floor of Town Meeting by voters. The budget adds $1,000 to the $9,000 set aside last year to the reappraisal fund and adds $4,000 to the street tree fund, up to $5,000 for the coming year, from $1,000 the prior year.