With the first meeting of the Town Council and Budget Committee scheduled for Nov. 15, Town Manager Kevin Smith presented a budget overview at the Town Council’s Monday night meeting.
“We were tasked with coming in with a budget that starts off at default,” Smith said, noting the increase is just over 2 percent, mostly due to retirement rates that have gone up while the amount of state funding the Town receives for retirement has gone down.
Smith said some adjustments will need to be made moving forward – the Town anticipated a 3 percent increase for health insurance, but was informed the maximum increase is going to be 1.7 percent.
“Typically the rate has come in lower than the maximum,” Smith noted.
Because the Town wasn’t able to use fund balance in the previous Fiscal Year and made a small appropriation into roadway maintenance, Smith said he is recommending expenditures of the Capital Reserve Account for needs such as ambulances and highway trucks, as well as a higher appropriation to the Roadway Maintenance Fund.
Improvements to the Drop-off Center were self-funded, so there is no need to use fund balance or increase taxes to subsidize those expenses, according to Smith.
Additional expenditures are to be included for life-saving CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) devices for all ambulances, and for both GIS (Geographic Information System) services and a Zoning Code re-write.
Smith said five union contracts are still under negotiation, which could be late additions to the entire warrant.
“We’re looking to achieve a steady tax rate. We were originally projected to go up 7 cents, but we’re actually expected to go up 2 cents,” Smith said. “Our goal is to come in on Nov. 15 with a budget that keeps what we keep for the current tax rate pretty much steady.”
In other business Monday night:
• The Town Council chose to forego holding another workshop to consider the issue of target shooting in the Musquash Conservation Area in lieu of having the Town Manager begin the process of creating a task force to study all the issues surrounding target shooting on conservation properties and report back to the Council with a recommendation.
• The Town Council passed with a 4-0 vote a resolution declaring the month of November “Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month” in Londonderry, as proposed by Karen Robinson of Elwood Road, whose mother passed away in 2010 five weeks after being diagnosed with the disease.
• Council Chairman Tom Dolan cold not attend the Nov. 3 meeting as he was hospitalized for injuries sustained in a fall at his home. Vice Chairman Jim Butler said Dolan was working at his home cleaning out gutters on a ladder when he fell.
Dolan expressed his gratitude for an outpouring of support from the community and for the Fire Department who responded to his home immediately.
Dolan was taken to Elliot Hospital in Manchester. He suffered a concussion, as well as some bumps and bruises.