Belmont budget proposal calls for 8% hike in town taxes

BELMONT — Selectmen voted unanimously last night to present a proposed 2014 budget of $9,498,752 to the Budget Committee. The total represents a 0.49 percent increase over the 2013 plan.

The amount to be raised by local taxes has risen to a proposed $5,962,237 from this year's $5,516,131, which is an increase of $446,106 or about 8 percent.

Town Administrator Jeanne Beaudin said the biggest revenue difference is a $350,000 decrease in Community Development Block Grant revenue. She also said her revenue estimates for 2014 were "very conservative."

"I think we've done a good job," said Selectman Jon Pike who noted that the decrease in revenue coupled with an increase in the contribution to the state retirement system were factors beyond the control of the town.

Employee raises for non-union employees averaged a 1 percent cost-of-living adjustment and one step on the pay scale ladders. Beaudin said the town is negotiating contracts with the Public Service employees and the Public Safety employees for 2014.

The Budget Committee meets tonight at 6:30 p.m. in the Corner Meeting House and Beaudin will be making a formal presentation at that time.