Budget Committee Meeting Looks at Solid End to Fiscal Year

With only a couple of months left in the fiscal year, it is once again time to take into account the gains and losses of the year and project just where Londonderry stands financially. By all accounts, the town appears to be in good shape.

This can be seen in  the positive attitudes of attendees at the May 25 Budget Committee meeting at Town Hall, including Town Manager Kevin Smith and Financial Director Doug Smith. This was also the first official meeting for new members Kristen Hildonen and Alex Rego.

After explaining to the new members how these meetings are they typically run, Kevin and Doug began by going over town expenditures. The two were quick to point out that the current total amount of spending is at 81.20 percent of the budget, which is less than their prediction of 83.33 budget. As a result, the Town Council did not feel the need to pull back on certain expenditures.

Despite the high hopes, Chairman Tim Siekmann had some questions for the Smiths. He was curious about the lack of information on capital for vehicles, machinery, and equipment.  Doug and Kevin explained that the vehicles, such as fire trucks and police cruisers, are now being paid for via a lease system, as opposed to usually funding them through the capital reserve.

These payments were then simply added on to the operating budget in order to keep the budget more stabilized.

Other elements of the expenditure budget were also discussed, including going slightly over due to recent elections, and using only 60 percent of the solid waste budget due to heavy budgeting around the activities of the recycling market.

The committee still seemed very pleased with what they saw, with Doug and Kevin projecting that by the end of the fiscal year, the expenditure budget should produce a $500,000 surplus, most of which will go to roadway maintenance.

Kevin and Doug then went on to discuss the revenue budget. The budget also seemed to be heading in a positive direction, with motor vehicle permits already netting $6,180,000, but Kevin and Doug noted that they were not as far ahead as last year due to this year’s increased revenue goal. The two project that the revenue budget will produce a surplus of somewhere between $500,000 and $750,000.

What struck Siekmann was the sheer amount of growth Londonderry has been experiencing as of late.  Kevin had noted earlier that a recent census had labeled Londonderry as the fastest growing city in New Hampshire.  That, combined with the building permits revenue at almost 120 percent of its initial goal, led Siekmann to ask whether or not Londonderry was in danger of running out of room for more development, which would adversely affect the town. Although Kevin did confirm Siekmann’s suspicions about a depletion of such property, stating “There’s not a whole lot left on the table,” he told Siekmann that he should not be too concerned over it and should be more concerned with the future state of the economy.

Kevin and Doug ended their portion of the meeting by telling the committee what to expect for the upcoming fiscal year, including a temporary halt on personal requests, and a new central fire station and communications warrant article.

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