Town Council Finalizes Working Budget for 2018

The Londonderry Town Council made several tweaks and trims to its working budget and warrant articles, in preparation for a public hearing this Monday.

In a budget segment of the Dec. 5 meeting, the Council removed $85,000 for an Air and Water Quality study, opting instead to wait until St. Gobain Performance Plastics and the DES complete their study of PFOA in local wells. The Council also reduced the amount of $350,000 for an Architectural and Engineering study for the Central Fire Station, choosing to go with just $35,000 for an engineering study and funding it out of the Unassigned Fund Balance.

Working Numbers

The Council is asking for an operating budget of $31,066,194. With anticipated revenues of $12,561,736, the total appropriation to be raised is $18,504,538, for a tax rate of $4.868.

Other factors include a town-wide communications upgrade at $4,200,000 (see related story page 1). If bonded, this would add 0.028 to the tax rate.

Warrant articles include the following:

Two police officers are requested at $198,545, salaries and benefits, for a tax impact of 0.052. Public Works is requesting two new truck drivers, the first in 15 to 20 years, according to Council Chair John Farrell. These positions would be $158,070, salaries and benefits, for a tax impact of 0.042.

Departments whose revenues offset their expenses include Special Revenue Fund for Police Details, $508,306, self-funding; Sewer Fund, $5,246,992, self-funding;

The town is making extensive use of the Unassigned Fund Balance to fill the following needs: Roadway Maintenance Trust Fund, $650,000; Capital Reserve Funding for Fire Equipment, $164,000; Capital Reserve Funding, GIS, $28,000; Sidewalks in the Moose Hill area, $250,000; Expendable Maintenance Trust Fund, $180,000, $45,000 to be raised at 0.012 tax impact; and Capital Reserve Funding for Pillsbury Cemetery Expansion, $100,000 (see related story above).

The total budget, including operating budget and warrant articles, is $19,613,448, an 8.18 percent increase over last year’s 4.77 for a total town tax rate of 5.16.

In addition, Town Manager Kevin Smith said that two petitioned warrant articles have been received. One is to ask if the town will raise and appropriate $115,000 to replace the lighting at the men’s softball field on Nelson Road; in a previous meeting, the Council had recommended that the softball organization do its own fund-raising for the lights. The other request, brought by resident Mike Byerly, is for $100,000 to hire a crew for roadside litter pick-up.

Janusz Czyzowski, director of public works, said that Byerly had come to him asking what the cost would be for a full-scale roadside pick-up. Czyzowski said he didn’t have the manpower to clean up 180 miles of roadside, and that he did an estimate for Byerly, who then prepared the warrant article.

“I thought Beautify Londonderry did that,” Councilor Jim Butler observed.

Czyzowski said that was the purpose of the organization but added, “They were volunteers.”

Czyzowski expressed personal frustration with the littering, saying, “I believe people should pick up their own stuff.”

Farrell agreed, but said, “If we are going to spend $100,000 on this, I want us to consider a stronger fine for littering than we have now.”

If both petitioned articles pass, there will be a tax rate of $5.21.

Kevin Smith said he expects revenues to be on track this year, and with increased industrial, commercial and residential development, “2019 will be a very good year for revenues for the town.”

The first public hearing on the budget will be this Monday, Dec. 12, at 7 p.m. in the Moose Hill Conference Room.

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