Greenville budget comes in flat

  • Greenville Select Board members Carla Mary, chair, and Scott Tenney presented a flat budget during the town's budget hearing on Thursday night. Staff photo by Ashley Saari

  • Greenville Select Board Chair Carla Mary, right, and Town Administrator Tara Sousa presented a flat budget during the town's budget hearing on Thursday night. Staff photo by Ashley Saari

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 2/12/2018 5:38:30 PM

After the town portion of the tax rate took a $6 jump this year, the Select Board told residents who turned out for the town’s budget hearing on Thursday that they crafted the budget this year with the goal of bringing down that rate.

“All other things being equal, the tax rate should decrease about $1.76,” said Select Board member Doug Reardon.

With that goal in mind, said Reardon, the town had not given any raises to town employees in an attempt to keep the budget as flat as possible. This year’s proposed budget is set at $2,141,890, about $1,300 less than last year’s budget. In addition to the flat budget, the town is also requesting about $101,000 less when the total of the monetary warrant articles are taken into account.

There are two requests on the warrant that are new this year, both requesting funds for new town equipment.

The first, article 11, requests that the town raise $162,560 to purchase a loader for the Highway Department. The funds would come from various sources, including a bond, which requires a 2/3 ballot vote from the town. 

The breakdown of the purchase includes $17,000 from the trade value of the town’s 1997 Hyundai loader, $29,000 from the town’s loader/backhoe expendable trust, $6,000 from the public works equipment capital reserve, $5,000 from the water revenues balance from 2017, and $5,000 from the wastewater revenues from 2017. The rest, about $82,700, would be bonded. 

Several residents questioned the intent to accrue debt over the purchase.

“I’m not overly in favor of bonding a piece of equipment,” said resident Charlie Buttrick. “Is there a reason a lease-purchase wasn’t looked at?”

Town Administrator Tara Sousa explained that the town had looked at that option, but because it planned to put a sizable down payment on the equipment, it didn’t want to risk losing that investment, if the town decided not to support future lease payments.

Residents also questioned the use of water and wastewater revenue for the purchase, and Select Board Chair Carla Mary clarified that the loader was used by those departments for tasks such as digging new sewer lines or repairing old ones, and that the Department of Revenue had approved the use.

Another request for equipment came from the fire department, for $33,500 for the purchase and installation for the conversion to high-band radio for emergency communications. The money can be used for things such as a radio tower, hardware, truck radios and portable units.

The majority of warrant articles this year are requests to add to the town’s current expendable trust funds or capital reserves, and the annual requests for funds to run the water, wastewater and police departments. 

The Wastewater Department is requesting $392,401 for the year, and the Water Department is requesting $277,199, in separate warrant articles. Both these requests are slight increases over last year. 

Mary told residents that the town was continuing to struggle with meeting state standards for wastewater output, an ongoing problem over the last several years, and was still regularly violating its allowed aluminum output, but is continuing to work with the state to solve the issue through a chemical piloting program. 

The town, as usual, must also vote to adopt the inter-municipal agreement for the provision of shared police services between Temple and Greenville. Mary told the crowd that the agreement had stayed effectively the same as the current one, with the exception that this year’s contract is a three-year agreement, instead of two-year. Mary said Temple had proposed that the towns appoint specific members of their Select Boards to sit on the joint police board, but Greenville board members had not supported the measure, and ultimately it did not make it into the contract. 

A full copy of the budget and warrant is available on the town’s website. 

Voting for elected town officers will be held in the lower level of the Mascenic SAU building (formerly the Greenville Elementary School) on March 13. Polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Town Meeting will be held at 9 a.m. on March 17, also at the SAU.  

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

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