Waitsfield voters will be asked to approve a FY23 budget that is up 13.7% - or $289,488 – over last year’s budget.
The proposed budget is $2,408,896 up from the FY22 budget of $2,119,408. The increase reflects adding dental benefits for employees ($6,474), 4 % salary increases for town staff ($21,541) and a 52.6% increase in funds allocated for capital transfer. In FY22 the capital transfer line was $378,298. That increases by $199,102 to $577,400 in the proposed budget.
Waitsfield’s budget year is July 1 through June 30.
Waitsfield Select Board chair Christine Sullivan said that board members wanted to be more proactive about allocating funds to build up the town’s reserves.
“We realized we need to have cash on hand for when unexpected things arise,” Sullivan said, referencing the fact that the road department budget includes $104,602 for potentially replacing a culvert on North Road. Rather than budget piecemeal for such projects, the select board wants to create a larger capital transfer fund.
Planning and zoning costs are up $5,702 in part due to the town hiring a full-time vs part-time zoning administrator and in part due to the town allocating funds for water and wastewater planning.
The cost of health care for town employees is up from $88,660 to $92,083. Fire department costs are up $17,725 this year, in part because the town is adding additional training funds for firefighters and also raising volunteer firefighter compensation from $13 per hour to $15. Additionally, the town is earmarking $4,000 more this year for fire truck repairs. The proposed budget this year is $147,549, up from last year’s $129,824.
New in this year’s budget is $8,000 for a constable. Sullivan said the select board has been working to define how this role will work in Waitsfield and would be developing policies for that position and looking to hire someone in 2022. Sullivan said that the town would reduce its current law enforcement budget for contracted coverage from the Washington County Sheriff’s office when that takes place. This year’s sheriff’s department line item is down $3,000 from $28,000 to $25,000.
There are some decreases in the town budget in the amount of $43,000, which reflects reduced diesel, salt and other items.