At its January 25 meeting, the Warren Select Board approved a budget of $3,977,724 to be warned before voters for Town Meeting Day on March 1, 2022. The budget is a 21% increase over last year’s town budget, though last year’s budget was significantly decreased due to COVID relief funds. It’s a 2.3% increase over what was spent in 2019, the most recent year not impacted by the pandemic.
Town salaries and benefits have increased slightly, as have election costs. The cost of town mapping has nearly doubled (from $2,500 actually spent in 2021 to $5,000) for web support and technology updates for GIS mapping found on the town’s website.Planning commission and development review board funds have increased by 5.1%.
Conservation commission costs have gone up 12.82%. Despite having $14,700 earmarked in last year’s budget for blueberry bush maintenance at Blueberry Lake, the town actually spent only $5,058 on the project last year and has budgeted $16,585 for this year. It spent $6,090 on knotweed management last year and has budgeted $13,498 for knotweed management this year. A new line item is a $2,000 wildlife corridor enhancement project.
Fire department costs have gone up 34.2% from last year, including an increase in contracted services, training and a new $7,500 line item for the fire department’s 75th anniversary celebration.
Library salaries and benefits have gone up 39.82% due to a request for additional staffing. The recreation budget has increased 44.12%, with $5,000 newly allocated for the Mad River Valley stewardship program and a $10,000 increase (from $30,000 to $40,000) for the Mad River Valley Recreation District.
An additional 74.34% has been added for bridge and major culvert projects, increasing the total highway and bridges budget by 39.75%.
The select board passed the $3,977,724 town budget unanimously.