By Alex Malm
Londonderry Town Manager, Mike Malaguti, along with Finance Director, Justin Campo, gave the Town Council and Budget Committee an overview of the proposed FY 2024 budget on Nov. 5.
“This is the beginning of a long process,” said Malaguti.
After the budget process is completed, including public hearings, the voters will ultimately have a chance to vote on either the proposed budget or the Town Manager’s proposed budget.
The proposed budget from Malaguti is $37,701,165, which is up 4.04% compared to the FY 23 budget, which was approved by the taxpayers at $36,233, 393.
It was pointed out by Malaguti that the Municipal Cost Index is up 9.14% compared to FY 23 and the CPI is up 8.1%.
Malaguti said they began meeting with department heads in September to see what their proposals are and their reasonings for it.
He said ultimately they rejected things that they felt weren’t needed. In total, $422,990 of the department requests were rejected as part of the Town Manager’s proposed budget.
One of the major increases that Malaguti pointed to was an increase for Waste Management’s contract for a total of $212,071.
“This is our single largest contract,” said Malaguti.
He also pointed to a 14 percent increase for health insurance, which will cost $785,561. Malaguti explained that during the pandemic there was less utilization, which is why they have a large increase this year.
Malaguti also pointed to two major reductions from the default budget, including a decrease of the local share for the NH Retirement System of $208,925, and a reduction of $68,131 from debt service.
Malaguti pointed to some positives in the proposed budget, which includes revenue coming from the sale of 35 Gillcrest Property, receiving $106,095 from opioid settlements, and an increase for the local share of the rooms and meals tax for a total of $343,000. In total Malaguti said they get about $2.3 million in revenue from the rooms and meals tax.
In addition to the budget, Malaguti also pointed to other warrant articles they will likely have on the ballot this year including the police union contract, a proposal for a new library position, along with DPW vehicles.
Malaguti said in order to offset the budget increases, they “tightened their pencils” for some of the other warrant articles that they would normally use some of their fund balance on.
The next budget workshop is expected to take place during the Nov. 21 Town Council meeting. The Deliberative session is scheduled to take place on Feb. 11 at 9 a.m. and the annual Town Meeting is slated to take place on March 14.