Brandon residents to decide on $3 million budget

BRANDON — The selectboard here has approved the Town Meeting warning and a proposed budget to send to voters.
The proposed $2,999,986 municipal spending plan for fiscal year 2018 includes a 1.8 percent increase in total expenditures, or $53,276, over the current spending plan.
The amount to be raised by taxes, $2,509,066, is up 0.89 percent, or $22,244.
The cost drivers for the fiscal year 2018 budget are centered around stark increases in worker’s compensation insurance and health insurance for town employees.
For instance, more than half of the police department budget increase is due to a $16,000 increase in worker’s comp and $4,000 in increased health insurance costs.
Under Highway, the increase for health insurance is almost $10,000, to $75,300, and worker’s comp rose from $23,300 to $32,250. In order to help balance those increases, the line item for highway fuel is down from $30,000 to $20,000. Mowing costs were cut from $5,800 to $1,000.
Under paving, the town is proposing a $15,000 increase for asphalt and road improvement in the highway budget. There is also a special appropriation that taxpayers will vote on separately that asks for approval to spend $50,000 to pave North Street and Furnace Road in Forest Dale.
It may look like the Brandon town clerk’s office got an infusion of funds, but that is not the case. The line item for the assistant town clerk was moved from the town administration section of the budget to the town clerk section, and shows an increase of $20,000 in wages and a $11,000 increase in health insurance costs associated with that position.
Another reason the town was able to keep the budget increase low was an almost $30,000 increase in revenue. The Recreation Department saw a $5,000 increase in revenue alone. The new solar array in the industrial park is providing an estimated $10,000 in revenue through lease payments and electric power cost savings.
The annual March town meeting will be held on Monday, March 6, at 7 p.m. upstairs in the main hall of the Brandon Town Hall.
Voters will vote on the town budget, the appropriations, and town officers by Australian ballot on Tuesday, March 7, from 7 a.m.- 7 p.m. downstairs in the lower level of the Brandon Town Hall.

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