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Bennington’s proposed operating budget is up $13,794 over 2012

  • Bennington moderator John Cronin III reviews the proposed 2013 town budget before the annual budget hearing at the VFW on Thursday, Jan. 10.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence)

    Bennington moderator John Cronin III reviews the proposed 2013 town budget before the annual budget hearing at the VFW on Thursday, Jan. 10.

    (Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence)

  • Bennington Budget Hearing<br/><br/><br/>(Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence)

    Bennington Budget Hearing


    (Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence)

  • Bennington Budget Hearing<br/><br/><br/>(Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence)

    Bennington Budget Hearing


    (Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence)

  • Bennington Select Board members Jeff Rose (left), Steven Osienski (center) and James Cleary discuss the proposed 2013 town budget at the annual budget hearing on Thursday, Jan. 10.<br/><br/><br/>(Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence)

    Bennington Select Board members Jeff Rose (left), Steven Osienski (center) and James Cleary discuss the proposed 2013 town budget at the annual budget hearing on Thursday, Jan. 10.


    (Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence)

  • Town Administrator Dee French (far left) and Bennington Select Board members Jeff Rose (center left), Steven Osienski (center right) and James Cleary discuss the proposed 2013 town budget at the annual budget hearing on Thursday, Jan. 10.<br/><br/><br/>(Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence)

    Town Administrator Dee French (far left) and Bennington Select Board members Jeff Rose (center left), Steven Osienski (center right) and James Cleary discuss the proposed 2013 town budget at the annual budget hearing on Thursday, Jan. 10.


    (Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence)

  • Bennington moderator John Cronin III reviews the proposed 2013 town budget before the annual budget hearing at the VFW on Thursday, Jan. 10.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence)
  • Bennington Budget Hearing<br/><br/><br/>(Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence)
  • Bennington Budget Hearing<br/><br/><br/>(Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence)
  • Bennington Select Board members Jeff Rose (left), Steven Osienski (center) and James Cleary discuss the proposed 2013 town budget at the annual budget hearing on Thursday, Jan. 10.<br/><br/><br/>(Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence)
  • Town Administrator Dee French (far left) and Bennington Select Board members Jeff Rose (center left), Steven Osienski (center right) and James Cleary discuss the proposed 2013 town budget at the annual budget hearing on Thursday, Jan. 10.<br/><br/><br/>(Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence)

BENNINGTON — The proposed operating budget for the town is up $13,794, totaling $1,523,579. The actual budget in 2012 was $1,509,748.

Including capital reserve funds and warrant articles proposed for 2013, the total proposed spending is $1,700,879, as presented at a budget hearing on Jan. 10. The proposed appropriations would mean a 0.92 percent tax increase, or a 12-cent increase in the town’s portion of the tax rate.

In 2012, the town appropriated $60,000 from general taxation for the repair of a shared Antrim bridge, of which $7,646 was used last year. This is part of a non-lapsing article that lasts until 2017, or until the bridge reconstruction is finished. The Select Board encumbered the remaining $52,354.

Also as part of the 2012 downtown reconstruction, $54,000 was funded by general taxation for phase two of the Transportation Enhancement Project, which is sidewalk reconstruction. This is also a non-lapsing article that will last until 2017, or when the project is completed.

This year, residents will see just $14,800 in warrant articles on the proposed 2013 docket.

A proposed increase of $2,978 for the executive office — up from $128,726 in 2012 to $131,704 in 2013 — is due to an increase in wages for town office employees.

After an increase in obligation to the N.H. Retirement System of $6,925, the personnel administration portion went up just $689 because of a “premium holiday” tax credit granted by the town’s worker’s compensation provider .

“The premium holiday is a one-time tax credit that our insurance provider has given us on worker’s comp,” Town Administrator Dee French explained at the Bennington town offices on Monday. “Typically we’d be paying either $12,000 or $15,000, and they’ve given us a tax credit of $7,322 this year. So while New Hampshire Retirement went up $6,900, we have that tax credit of $7,300 so the offset brings it down to just about $700 that the budget increases.”

Bennington switched over from basic fire alarms in its government buildings to security and burglar alarms. That coupled with general custodial services is projected to increase the government buildings appropriations section from $24,001 to $26,001.

In the past, Hillsborough County has had a program in place for inmates in correctional facilities to do labor work for towns. French said that Bennington used to have a group of six to 10 inmates, supervised by a guard, come in and do anything from raking cemeteries to painting, to roadside cleanup.

In an effort to cut the budget, the Hillsborough County Commissioner’s Office decided to discontinue the program as of July 1, 2012, when the county’s new budget was implemented.

“The only thing that cost the town was feeding them lunch,” French said. “Now we’ve got to pay labor to do the work that they used to do for free.”

As a result, the proposed 2013 budget includes a $1,620 increase to pay for groundskeeping.

Increases in the Police Department’s budget primarily include higher wages and a greater cost of supplies. To offset some of those increases, Police Chief Steve Campbell and the Police Department will not be going out of state for training, whereas generally training would be done at an annual conference.

“I don’t want people to think he’s training any less,” French said. “It’s just a different type of training that he’ll be doing this year to try to offset some of the increases in his budget.”

The proposed Police Department budget increase is $4,081.

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