Temple-Greenville salaries get a boost in new budget

  • Temple-Greenville Police Chief Jim McTague speaks about police officer raises during Greenville’s budget hearing on Wednesday. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Resident James Hartley, left, speaks about issues with Greenville’s water department during the public hearing on Wednesday.  Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Select Board members Carla Mary, Maggie Bickford and Doug Reardon go through the budget during Greenville’s budget hearing on Wednesday.  Staff photo by Ashley Saari

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 2/18/2019 11:11:16 AM

Greenville’s tax rate is estimated to increase by 19 cents next year, if the budget and warrant articles all pass, Selectmen told residents during the town’s budget hearing on Wednesday.

Most of the increase comes from a $25,581 proposed increase in the budget, most of which comes from salary increases for town employees, who did not receive any increases in pay last year.

There were few other substantive changes to the budget proposed. 

The budget is set at $2.17 million, which is an increase from last year’s $2.14 million budget.

The budget proposes to give most town employees a 3 percent salary increase, except Temple-Greenville’s police officers, who are to receive a 5 percent increase -- 3 percent from Greenville’s budget and 2 percent from Temple’s.

When asked if the pay was enough to retain officers, Selectman Doug Reardon said the short answer was no.

“It’s virtually impossible for Temple and Greenville to try to match other towns,” he said. “We try to do as much as the towns can bear.”

Temple-Greenville Police Chief Jim McTague said he had originally requested an 8 percent increase, based on wage studies which show his Sargent is paid 14 percent below average based on wage studies, and patrol officers are being paid 7 percent under the average.

McTague said it is common for officers to leave, not for larger cities, but to surrounding towns including New Ipswich, Wilton, Lyndeborough and Peterborough, generally citing the better pay.

“We’ve lost some good officers,” McTague said.

With four full-time officers, two part-time and the police chief all getting increases in salary, the police budget is going up this year by about $23,000. Greenville’s share of the cost is up from $378,597 to $392,700.

In other articles on the warrant, wastewater and water expenses are both expected to go up. Expenses related to these departments are paid by the users through rates, and don’t impact the tax rate. Based on the current proposed increases, there is no increase in the water rate expected, but a rate increase for sewer costs is likely to be approved this year.

The wastewater costs are up by about $28,000, and water is up by about $6,000. Most of the wastewater increases are related to nearly doubling the cost of chemicals, to continue a pilot program to bring the facility in compliance with its permitted amount of chemical output.

Both the wastewater and water operation contract have increased to keep up with the cost of living, in accordance with the town’s contract. When asked if the board had explored a different operations company, given maintenance issues at the water plant in 2018, Reardon told residents they had, but found the cost increases would have been prohibitive, costing up to $100,000 more than the current contract. That would increase sewer rates by $3, and water costs by 90 cents, and he said the town didn’t think that was feasible.

“We laid it on the line that there’s a lack of trust right now, but they’re working with us to rebuild that,” Select Board Chairwoman Carla Mary said. Utility Partners, the management company that operates both facilities, is giving the town regular operational reports, and the state of New Hampshire has inspected the water facility, she said.

“We feel confident this is a good avenue to continue with,” Mary said.

Among other warrant articles, the town is requesting to use expendable trust funds to repair the pool house, a total of $42,000 for re-roofing, putting on new vinyl siding, trim and door and window replacements, as well as electrical and lighting upgrades.

Reardon said the building had been put up in the mid-1980s as a Mascenic building trades project, and had served the town well, but had no major repairs or upgrades since that time, and it needed some work.

The town is also asking for $15,000, to match a similar request last year, to complete the purchase of high-band radios for the fire department. 

A $9,000 request would purchase a propane generator system for the Highway Department garage.

The remainder of monetary items on the warrant are requests for additions to capital reserves or expendable trust funds, including $10,000 for the Green Bridge improvement fund, $10,000 for public works equipment, $20,000 for pool repair, $15,000 for fire equipment, $10,000 for the police cruiser fund, $10,000 for the wastewater fund, and $20,000 for the water fund.

The town will also be voting this year on whether or not to allow the lottery game Keno in town borders. While the matter will be voted on at Town Meeting, it must be done by paper ballot, Mary said.

A public hearing specifically regarding the Keno article is set to take place Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. in the Town Hall meeting room.

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


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