On Town Meeting Day, March 7, 2023, Moretown voters will see a proposed budget of $1,455,103.29 on their ballots, a 6.5% increase over last year’s budget of $1,366,306.93.
Town office expenses are up 15.5%, which include purchasing a new server and computer.
Though total highway expenses are up 4.2%, highway supplies are up 18.9% ($186,250 from $156,750 last year), which includes supplies that have increased in cost such as signs, gravel, sand, and culverts.
The budget includes having the Washington County Sheriff’s Department patrolling on a regular basis to the tune of $27,000, which was not in last year’s budget.
The cost of having an auditor has gone up 400% ($21,000 from $4,200) due to the need to have a financial audit per statute.
Total fire department costs are up 39.8%. Fire equipment is up 214.3% ($8,800 compared to $2,800) primarily due to the expense of purchasing a replacement portable pump. “Firemen” costs are also up to purchase wildland firefighter equipment and training to better prepare the fire department for wildland fires. Town clerk Cherilyn Brown said in an email that the state offers a 50/50 matching grant for this purpose.
Moretown’s Select Board budget has increased by 25%. Select board members’ stipends have gone from $500 each to $1,000 each, as Brown said that stipend has not changed for years. Also, under Select Board, “Employee compensation TBA” went up 150% (from $6,000 to $15,000) due to a “possible change in hourly rates for some or all employees throughout the year, depending on COLA, consulting or possible new employees being added into the budget.”