Jaffrey town manager proposes $6.6 million operating budget

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Wednesday, December 27, 2017 7:52PM

Jaffrey’s town manager has proposed a $6.6 million operating budget for 2018, an increase of 3.2 percent over last year’s approved budget. 

Town Manager Jon Frederick presented his proposed budget to the select board during a special meeting on Wednesday morning. During his presentation, Frederick said he estimates that the town portion of Jaffrey’s tax rate will increase by 25-cents over 2017’s $10.95 figure, if the budget is approved as he presented it. 

In total, it is estimated that $4.6 million will have to be raised by taxes, a 3.3-percent increase over last year. The amount to be raised by taxes combines the requested operating, water, and sewer budgets, revenue, warrant articles and other budgetary factors. 

Frederick said this year’s budget is faced with several capital investment issues, with the most notable challenge being the town’s road management plan.

The plan says the town should be putting away $595,000 each year to maintain roads, but only $472,000 was put towards that purpose in 2017’s budget. Frederick has increased the ask to $500,000, which is down from the department head’s request to increase to $579,000.

“A jump of $100,000 might be a little severe,” said Frederick, during te meeting. 

Percentage-wise, the sections of the budget that see the largest increases are bridges (380-percent), personnel administration (14.6-percent), and capital overlay (14.6-percent). 

Bridges sees a relatively small increase of $9,500 for routine maintenance of town bridges. The percentage increase is large because the budget was only $2,501 last year. 

Much of the personnel administration increase revolves around Frederick’s decision to pull workers compensation and unemployment compensation from various departments and placing them into one place. There were also increases in health insurance rates (5.8-percent) and dental (2.3-percent). 

In addition to the increase in roads, there is also an addition of $41,000 for the purchase of a new police cruiser in the capital overlay portion of the budget. The cruiser was originally supposed to be replaced last year but was put off. 

There is also a request for $30,000 to replace the recreation department’s bus, as it has a leaky roof and its structural integrity is in question.

Frederick has requested that the town get rid of an annual warrant article to fund part of the assessing services contract, instead putting 100-percent of the ask in a line item in the budget.