Panton to vote on truck, fund

PANTON — The Panton selectboard is asking residents to approve a truck loan for $121,012 at a Dec. 17 special meeting, but at the same time the board is making plans for two long-term funds that its members hope will avoid such meetings in the future.
If residents say yes to the truck at a Panton Town Hall meeting set to begin at 6 p.m. that Wednesday, the town will get a new, fully equipped tandem plow vehicle, said board chairman John Viskup last week.
That price includes what he called a good discount and the trade-in value for the town’s 2006 truck. The board also hopes the purchase will have little or no impact on the town’s tax rate for the first two years of a five-year note because of a surplus from the 2013-2014 fiscal year and a projected surplus from the current year.
Viskup said if voters agree on Dec. 17, the surplus from the past year can be used to make the first year’s payment of $20,192, and the board hopes to use the projected surplus to take care of year two.
“Hopefully we won’t feel a tax impact, because there is also an undetermined amount of surplus this year,” Viskup said. “Actually, the surplus we have is quite substantial.”
Board members also hope that the surplus from the current budget will be large enough to start the town’s first contingency fund, something town auditors have recommended.
“We have not had a rainy day fund,” he said. “And the auditors have come in and said we needed a rainy day fund of at least 5 percent of our budget, and we decided it would be better to have it at 7 percent. We’re conservative, and we’re trying to get this town on a good financial basis, planning for large expenditures and not just going by the seat of our pants all the time. We’re trying to do some long-range planning.”
That fund could help in circumstances such as this year, when after voters approved the selectboard’s budget proposal the town’s tandem truck — now past its warranty — began developing costly maintenance problems.
“It’s looking for some money,” Viskup said.
The board and highway foreman Rick Cloutier researched options, and Viskup said they learned that an eight-year ownership period is best — it was time to trade.
“It’s eight years old, and that seems to be from various people we’ve researched this with the opportune time to get rid of these trucks,” he said.
As well as the overall contingency fund in the selectboard budget, the town also plans to create a capital fund within the highway budget based on depreciation of all town equipment with a value over $5,000, including a front-end loader, a grader, tractors, mowers and trucks.
“We’re going to get depreciation schedules for all the major pieces of equipment in town,” Viskup said. “And be able to plan in the future and not be surprised and have to come up with funds unexpectedly.”
But in the meantime, the board decided residents should decide on Dec. 17 whether to buy the truck and to apply part of this past year’s surplus toward the first payment.
“It wasn’t budgeted. We hadn’t planned for it, and it’s $121,000 we’re asking for over time,” Viskup said. “I’m not sure which rule applies here, but we felt we had to go to the voters.”
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at andyk@addisonindepen

Share this story:

More News
News Uncategorized

Fresh Air Fund youths returning to county

The Fresh Air Fund, initiated in 1877 to give kids from New York City the opportunity to e … (read more)

Obituaries Uncategorized

Mark A. Nelson of Bristol

BRISTOL — A memorial service for Mark A. Nelson of Bristol will be held 1 p.m. on Saturday … (read more)

Sports Uncategorized

High school athletes ready for fall playoffs this week

See when your favorite high school team is competing in the fall sports playoffs.

Share this story: