New Ipswich Select Board tweaks budget by $15,000 at public hearing

  • Town of New Ipswich. STAFF FILE PHOTO BY BEN CONANT

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 1/18/2023 12:35:08 PM
Modified: 1/18/2023 12:34:52 PM

New Ipswich Select Board members voted to add about $15,000 to the town’s proposed budget, but made no other changes to warrants, following a public hearing of the budget on Tuesday.

The proposed budget at the start of the hearing was set at slightly under $3.2 million. The increase, according to Select Board Shawn Talbot, was to account for fees related to upkeep of the town’s flashing stoplights and lightposts, which had not been factored into the budget.

While the proposed budget is about a 10.8 percent increase from the current budget of $2.88 million, Talbot said there was little feedback from the handful of community members who attended Tuesday’s public hearing.

The entire warrant, including the budget, has been unanimously recommended by the Select Board, with the exception of a total of $9,970 in donations to regional health services, which was recommended 2-1, with Selectman Jason Somero dissenting.

Article 6, which requests additions for eight of the town’s capital reserve or expendable trusts, prompted some discussion about spending plans for those departments.

Talbot said he has spent the last two years working with the Planning Board and Finance Advisory Committee to update the town’s capital improvement plan, which outlines what equipment needs replacing and their life expectancy. The town has a plan in place, but it is in need of updating, Talbot said.

“It’s an important tool in communicating what we’re saving and why,” Talbot said.

The total amount of capital reserve requests is $288,500, but the town expects Fire Chief Meredith Lund to move to amend the two accounts relating to the town’s fire department during deliberative session – increasing the request for the equipment reserve from $50,000 to $75,000 and the account for fire protection equipment from $20,000 to $30,000.

Talbot said the current numbers on the warrant are based on the existing capital reserve plan, and while he acknowledged rising prices made the fire departments reserves projections out of date, he said the board had agreed to let Lund argue the merits of the increases to the public, and let the public to vote on the matter at deliberative session.

A separate article would create a new reserve account for the fire department, for communications equipment, and raise $5,000 to start.

Residents will vote whether to establish revolving funds for the town’s Heritage Commission and transfer station. Talbot said the transfer station fund was a step in making the town’s recycling center self-sufficient, in allowing it to use its own revenue and carry it over from year to year.

Voters are expected to vote on two articles, one for $350,000 and one for $250,000, to continue roadwork in town. In addition, they are also asked to accept a $106,267 New Hampshire Department of Transportation Block Grant for road maintenance or construction.

Talbot said there is an article that could be struck from the warrant, or otherwise be moot, although the board did not take a vote to withdraw the article on Tuesday. The article asks to expend $20,440 from a capital reserve fund for the town’s cyclical revaluation. However, Talbot said, in a previous town vote, the Select Board has already been given the authority to spend money from that account, making the article superfluous. Talbot said the town is still investigating the issue.

Ashley Saari is available at 603-924-7172, Ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertran script.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.


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