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Budget upped by $141K at meeting

WLC court decision reason for increase

  • Lyndeborough selectmen awarded Lucy K. Schmidt, who will be 94 in June, with the town's Boston Post Cane during Saturday's town meeting. The Boston Post Cane is traditionally awarded to the town's oldest citizen.
  • Lyndeborough Police Chief Rance Deware, left, speaks about a warrant article asking to raise funds for a new police vehicle next year.
  • Lyndeborough residents Jim Button, left, and Donald Guertin raise their voting cards in agreement to change the wording of a capital reserve fund account.
  • Resident Mark Altner raises his voting card along with the rest of the crowd during a vote to change the wording of a capital reserve account.

LYNDEBOROUGH — All proposed warrant articles in Lyndeborough sailed through Town Meeting on Saturday, including an amended budget of $1,806,333.

Select Board member Kevin Boette put forth an amendment to the budget to increase it by $141,494. The reason, he explained, was due to a recent court decision in which Lyndeborough was ordered to pay Wilton $141,494 following a misapportionment of school funds in 2010.

Boette further explained that the town is required by law to repay the funds, whether the town approved the amendment or not. Even if the town voted down the additional funds, the Department of Revenue Administration would calculate Lyndeborough’s tax rate with the payment factored in.

“The cleaner and more transparent way is to come before this meeting,” said Boette.. Boette said the plan is to pay the funds from the unexpended fund balance dating from 2010 and 2011, near the time that the error occurred.

Resident Mark Altner asked if there was any way to space out the repayment over more than one year. Boette replied that the town would have to go to court again to work out that sort of detail, which would cost the town more in legal costs.

One resident questioned why this cost had not been brought as a separate warrant article. Boette told the crowd that the Department of Revenue Administration recommended that the addition be offered as an addition to the operating budget’s legal line.

The town approved the amendment in a voice vote, and then approved the amended budget at $1,806,333.

The remainder of the articles passed with no controversy, and often without any discussion. Most articles this year called for additions to capital reserve funds, as part of the town’s long-term capital improvement plan. Unanticipated needed road repairs to Pinnacle Road, which are expected to cost the town $100,000 has caused the town to update its Capital Improvement plan, and move up some reserve requests to this year, explained Interim Town Administrator Burton Reynolds.

In a voice vote, the town agreed to approve $20,000 to go toward the replacement of the 2011 four-wheel drive police vehicle. The article is non-lapsing until either the town replaces the vehicle or 2016. Police Chief Rance Deware noted that because the town replaces their two police vehicles on a four year cycle, it makes more sense to have the town approve non-lapsing articles than to establish a capital reserve, because there is such a short period between new purchases.

The town passed multiple articles seeking to put away funds for the replacement of Fire Department vehicles. The town agreed to put $24,000 into the reserve for the 1994 pumper, $24,000 for the 2005 pumper reserve, $14,000 for the 1984 tanker reserve and $13,500 for the town’s 2002 rescue vehicle reserve.

Highway Department vehicles took up the remaining bulk of the capital reserve requests. The town approved $50,000 for the reserve for the repair and replacement of the town’s 2002 John Deere Grader, $22,000 for the replacement of the 2002 Mack Truck, $13,500 for the replacement of the 2007 one-ton truck, $12,000 for the replacement of the 2009 one-ton dump truck, $19,000 for the repair and replacement of the 2008 Volvo dump truck and $20,500 for the repair and replacement of a 2007 backhoe and loader.

The town also asked, and received approval to establish a new capital reserve fund. This one will be to conserve funds for the repair or replacement of the 2008 backhoe. The article also raised $19,000 to be placed into the fund.

In addition to beginning a new capital reserve, the town also voted to end another, approving an article calling for the discontinuance of the loader capital reserve. The $1,621 I the fund will be returned to the fund balance. The reason for relinquishing the reserve, explained Moderator Walter Holland, is because the town currently has a large backhoe that functions as a loader.

Also approved was $22,000 to be added to the bridge build/repair/replacement capital reserve.

There were multiple articles on the warrant this year that asked the town to change the language in capital reserve funds. Instead of solely being for the replacement of town equipment, several will now be for replacement or repair. With large municipal vehicles like fire trucks, explained Reynolds, sometimes it is more prudent to effect a repair, such as replacing a pump, than to replace the vehicle. Regular maintenance-type repairs will still be budgeted in the operating budget, he said.

Among the articles amended to include repair of vehicles are the 1994 Fire Department Pumper Capital Reserve, which passed in a 60-0 hand vote, 1984 Tanker capital reserve fund, which passed in a 61-0 vote, 2002 John Deere Grader capital reserve, which passed in a 57-0 vote, and the 2007 Backhoe/Loader capital reserve, which passed 58-0. Each article required a two-thirds majority.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ex. 244, or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaari.

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