$11.9 million operating budget up for debate

Proposed increase of 1.26 percent can be amended at deliberative session Tuesday ahead of final vote at polls May 14

PETERBOROUGH — On Tuesday, voters will have a final chance to weigh in on an $11.9 million town operating budget at Peterborough’s deliberative session. The meeting will be an opportunity to amend the proposal, which is recommended by both the Select Board and the Budget Committee, before it goes to the polls on May 14.

The proposed budget of $11,878,659 is a 1.26 percent increase over last year’s approved budget of $11,730,586.

During the budget planning process earlier this year, the Select Board recommended several reductions in the operating budget in order to keep the increase as low as possible.

The largest savings, $37,561, came from reducing the town’s merit pay pool from 2.5 percent to 1.7 percent. The board also reduced the Fire Department budget by $10,000, with the intent that developers rather than the town will be expected to pay to cost of required inspections for future projects.

At the deliberative session, voters will also discuss two warrant articles, to see if the town will add $155,000 to the Fleet Management Capital Reserve Fund and $50,000 to the Financial Management Software/Hardware Capital Reserve Fund.

Other warrant articles, including three alternative proposals for the GAR Hall, a request for a $2.6 million bond for road, water and sewer improvements on Union Street and a proposal for $28,000 for a police cruiser, are not up for discussion at the deliberative session because they won’t appear on the May 14 ballot. They will be discussed and voted on during the town’s traditional open session of Town Meeting, to be held on May 15.

If the budget and the warrant articles recommended by the Select Board are all passed, total appropriations will be $15.23 million, according to a budget summary included with the town warrant. Estimated revenues would be $9.58 million, resulting in an estimated amount of taxes to be raised of $5.65 million.

Voters in May will also elect a number of town officials. The filing period for candidates for town offices closes on April 5 at 5 p.m. Incumbent office holders whose terms are expiring are: Barbara Miller, Select Board; Gordon Kemp, Leslie Lewis and Paul Sullivan, Budget Committee; Sharon Monahan, Zoning Board of Adjustment; Tom Weeks, Planning Board (the board also has a vacant seat, following the death of Rick Monahon); Andrew Manns, trustee of trust funds; Linda Guyette, cemetery trustee; Ronald Bowman and David Simpson, library trustees; Paula Stewart and Tina Kriebel, Recreation Committee; and Roland Patten, John Franklin and Jim Grant, fence viewers.

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