Panton to consider 5.7% spending hike

PANTON — The Panton selectboard on Jan. 14 adopted a proposed 2020-2021 budget that if approved by residents on Town Meeting Day would increase town spending by about 5.7 percent to $660,789.
The higher spending could translate to an additional 3.31 cents on the municipal portion of the town’s tax rate to a new figure of 61.07 cents per $100 of assessed property value.
The change translates to about $33 per $100,000 of assessed value. According to the budget printout, however, the rate could move in April when Panton’s grand list of property value is made final.
The spending increase of $35,793 is being driven by one major factor: The selectboard is proposing to build a new $257,000 salt and sand shed at the town’s Panton Road highway depot later this year, and the first year’s payment would be $20,075. Officials have said the current shed is inadequate and beyond repair.
Another driver is a $7,846 increase in the cost of Panton’s fire protection contract with Vergennes. The Vergennes Fire Department is Panton’s first responder, and the city recently purchased a new truck.
Panton’s highway department spending is also proposed to rise by about $13,500.
Within the highway budget, wages are increasing by $4,500, road retreatment by $5,000, and summer road materials by $3,000. A new line item for “cold patch” also adds $3,000 to the department budget.
There are other smaller line item increases, and one significant decrease: Panton is saving $7,871 in Administration Expenditures by offering a less costly health insurance plan to its full-time employee.

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