Rindge finalizes cuts to meet default budget

  • Rindge Meeting House Staff photo by Ben Conant

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 4/5/2021 4:00:30 PM

The Rindge Select Board has pared down the proposed budget to meet the default budget that was approved during this year’s Town Meeting vote, while keeping promised employee raises intact.

“The biggest thing was to be able to honor the pay plan proposed for employees. That was our focus,” Rindge Town Administrator Sara Gravell said Monday. “This is something that took time for Rindge to implement and something that was needed to retain and take care of employees.”

Those pay increases across the budget were about $42,000, and would have significantly closed the gap between the requested budget and default budget, which had a difference of about $69,653.

The default budget is last year’s budget, plus any contracted increases previously approved by town meeting and minus any one-time expenses. Gravell said there were several areas that could be cut from last year’s budget which had already been trimmed from the proposed budget, and could be eliminated without any impact to the current operations.

The largest area was employee insurance. Because of changes in the town’s employees or their plans, last year’s budget had about $33,000 that was not needed this year.

Select Board member Bob Hamilton said there were at least four employees this year that either selected a less expensive plan or declined insurance coverage, resulting in the savings.

The town is also expecting a return of health insurance premiums in the amount of about $22,000, some of which will be returned to employees, and some of which is returned to the town as revenue.

Because last year included presidential and mid-term elections, the elections budget could also be decreased by about $5,100 without impact to running elections this year.

The technology budget for the town was predicted to decrease approximately $4,000 this year compared to the previous year, and the welfare department requested about $9,500 less than in 2020.

Hamilton said those areas allowed the town to continue with its planned pay increases without having to eliminate them.

“We more than covered the pay plan,” Hamilton said. “And we wanted to ensure those pay raises. That’s going to be managed easily.”

“We didn’t over-budget, so we were able meet the default without any real cuts,” Hamilton said.

The town also approved in a separate warrant article funds to hire an additional police officer. Because the salary and benefits for that position were approved in an article separate from the budget, that officer will be hired and those expenses added to the 2022 budget.

The Select Board agreed in a meeting last week to approve those adjustments to the budget.


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