Sanbornton BudCom says 'no' to 2 1/2% raises

SANBORNTON — The Budget Committee has voted against giving town employees a 2 1/2 percent raise in fiscal year 2014-2015.

The committee's vote on Tuesday goes against the Board of Selectmen's recommendation that the town's 22 full-time employees get the raises.

"Everybody got 2 1/2 percent last year and the Police Department got their pay scales adjusted," said Budget Committee Chair Earl Leighton, adding he is comfortable with not giving raises in fiscal year 2015.

Sanbornton operates on a fiscal year as opposed to a calender year. The annual town meeting is held in May and the year begins on July 1. Not an SB-2 community, Sanbornton budgets and most warrants articles can be amended on the floor.

"If the voters choose to add the 2 1/2 percent, then I'm comfortable with that, too," Leighton said. "After all, they are the ones who are paying for it."

Leighton said the Budget Committee supports the reclassification of five employees — meaning five people will get raises because additional duties and/or training has earned them a different classification and a higher spot on the grade scale.

Three of those employees are in the Fire Department and include Chief Paul Dexter and two of his call staff. Two of the positions are in the Town Hall Administration.

On Tuesday, the Budget Committee reviewed the Fire Department budget but kicked it back to the selectmen when members realized it the classification adjustments were included by the 2 1/2 percent proposed pay increase for the rest of the employees was not.

Next Tuesday, the Budget Committee is scheduled to review the Highway Department budget which is up 8.6 percent including the proposed 2 1/2 percent pay increase.

So far, the selectmen have presented a still-in-progress proposed fiscal year total budget of $4,695,546 that represents an increase of about 1.4 percent over the current fiscal year's budget.

Town Administrator Bob Veloski said the selectmen have not voted on a final budget but are waiting for the recommendations of the Budget Committee. He said the fiscal year 2015 is still very much a work in process.