City manager says Vergennes budget is in good shape

VERGENNES — The Vergennes City Council on April 22 heard good budget news from City Manager Mel Hawley on two fronts, annual spending and the city’s new police station.
Hawley said despite what he called a rough winter, Vergennes Public Works Department spending is under budget — even its $50,000 line item for sand and salt, which has $9,000 remaining.
“I think we’re in good shape,” he said. “That’s not the sort of story you hear from other municipalities.”
Hawley said aldermen approved a realistic budget this past June, and that in addition he credited “personnel and equipment” for efficient spreading of sand and salt. He said Vergennes has replaced older equipment in recent years, and there is less waste with the newer gear.
Other areas of the city budget also “appear to be in good shape,” Hawley said in a Wednesday interview, although he said it was too early to predict how much of a fund balance the city might have on June 30, when the Vergennes fiscal year closes.
As for the $1.55 million police station (that price tag includes the land purchase, permits and architects and engineers’ fees), Hawley said it appeared it would come in at least $27,000 under budget.
Voters approved a $1.45 million bond for the project, with aldermen to take up to $100,000 from the city’s Water Tower Fund to pay the total cost.
Hawley recently estimated the city would only have to take $73,000 out of the Water Tower Fund. Now, with only two or three weeks of sitework remaining to complete the Main Street station, Hawley believes aldermen would not have to dig even that deep.
“I’m quite confident we’re not going to need all of that $73,000,” he said.
If the weather cooperates, Hawley said the police station sitework could be finished by mid-May.
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at [email protected].

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