Bristol voters to mull police, utility budgets

BRISTOL — The proposed Bristol Police District budget for the 2011-2012 fiscal year represents a 10.5 percent cut in spending and would require 6.5 percent less funding from taxpayers. Residents of the district, which roughly overlaps with the Bristol village, will vote on the proposal on Monday, May 23, in a 7 p.m. meeting at Holley Hall.
The proposed $337,322 in overall police spending, which is $35,511 less than in the current fiscal year. Anticipated expenditures for the coming year would require $20,361 less in property taxes than fiscal 2010-2011, which ends June 30.
At Monday’s meeting, village residents will also discuss a 10 percent increase to the downtown sewer rate, the water budget and a proposed pedestrian study.
The largest reduction in the proposed police spending plan stems from an 18.25 percent decrease in full-time labor. This $31,025 reduction from $170,025 is due to the police department being short-staffed. To reward full-time officers for the longer hours that they must work, a 3.5 percent pay raise was worked into the $139,000 budgeted for full-time labor.
Other notable changes in the proposed budget are:
•  Grants for programs like “Click It or Ticket” and “Stop Teen Alcohol Risk Team” (START) are no longer part of the budget, which accounts for a $13,500 reduction in expenditures. “We don’t put grants in the general budget anymore,” explained Bristol selectboard chairman Joel Bouvier. “They are out there all by themselves.”
•  The 2009-2010 deficit, which the proposed 2011-2012 budget pays off, was 80 percent less than the previous year’s. The 2011-2012 budget will pay off $2,350 in deficit, a $9,432 reduction from last year’s $11,782 in deficit payments.
•  Health insurance costs are projected to rise 2.2 percent to $55,000.
•  The cost of gasoline is projected to rise 7 percent at $7,500.
Following the annual meeting of the police district, the board of water commissioners and the board of sewer commissioners will meet with residents to discuss budgets and rates.
The sewer rate is set to rise 10 percent for Bristol’s “downtown block.” This increase will raise the current $500 minimum annual sewer rate by $50.
“Nobody remembers the last time the rates were increased and they have not been increased in at least 5 years,” said Town Administrator Bill Bryant at the April 11 selectboard meeting. “If you’re connected to the sewer, you pay for it, which is the downtown block, including Rite Aid, Shaw’s, Holley Hall, and several other free-standing buildings.
The meeting will also act as a local concerns meeting for a proposed pedestrian study funded by the Addison County Regional Planning Commission.
Reporter Andrew Stein is at [email protected]

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