Mason budget proposal is up 4.5%

  • Mason's Town Hall

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 1/5/2022 1:03:39 PM
Modified: 1/5/2022 1:02:59 PM

The proposed Mason operating budget of approximately $2.28 million for the fiscal year starting July 1 is up by 4.5% from the current budget of almost $2.19 mi, with increases in wages, road repairs and technology improvements the main factors.

“I thought we did a pretty good job trying to keep everything in line, while accounting for a 6.9% inflationary index,” said Mason Select Board Chair Peter McGinnity. The board is scheduled to hold the town’s budget hearing Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at Town Hall, during its regularly scheduled Select Board meeting.

One of the largest proposed increases is in the Fire Department budget, with the majority of the costs attributed to the new, full-time position of a fire chief approved during last year’s Town Meeting. Overall, the fire department budget is up about $41,600, with the areas of increase being in the chief’s wages and associated expenses, including the state retirement fund.

The Police Department budget is up by about $23,000. Approximately $3,800 is an increase in the police chief salary, a further $3,500 in salary for the officers and $5,000 in part-time officer salaries. There are incremental increases throughout the budget for equipment, maintenance, utilities and fuel and the cost to purchase a new computer for the department.

The town is proposing an approximately $16,000 increase in the financial administration line of the budget, including $6,000 to hire a contracted grant writer.

The wages for the Select Board’s administrative assistant have also increased by about $10,000, which reflects the experience of the new hire for that position.

The Mason Public Library’s budget is also going up by about $10,000, with the majority attributed to an increase of wages for the new librarian.

The Planning Board’s budget is up about $1,300. The board is proposing to purchase $4,500 in equipment to allow the digitizing of plans and files moving forward, though McGinnity said the town does not plan at this time to digitize its archived files.

“Everything is in paper files everywhere – in basements, attics, file cabinets,” McGinnity said. “It would be difficult financially to go back and digitize that stuff, but we’ll start digitizing going forward.”

The cost of the equipment is offset by other cuts in the budget, including a planned review of the master plan with the Nashua Regional Planning Commission.

“Hopefully, that’s a cost that’s going to pay for itself within three to six months,” McGinnity said. The town has an interest in grants that could assist several departments, particularly the fire department, with offsetting equipment costs.

Costs of proposed warrant article items are also expected to be up.

The town is requesting a $50,000 warrant article to continue road improvements, which is the same amount requested in the current budget. The town is also seeking additions to four capital reserve accounts – $50,000 for the fire engine reserve, $5,000 for fire equipment, $5,000 for fire station maintenance and repairs and $50,000 for Highway Department equipment.

Last year, the town requested about $55,000 in capital reserve additions, compared to $110,000 in capital reserve requests in the proposed budget.
 

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


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