GILFORD — Selectmen have recommended a gross town budget for 2015 of $12,314,072 — down from $13,338,829, or 7.68-percent from 23014.
Town Administrator Scott Dunn said the biggest reason for the decrease is because in 2014 the town approved $2,052,636 in special warrant articles — $1.213 million of which was for the addition and upgrade for the Police Station at Town Hall.
Dunn said this year, selectmen have recommended $446,000 in warrant articles that includes items for the Police, Fire and Public Works Departments.
Without the warrant articles, the operating budget is up from $11,286,193 to $11,868,072, or 5.1 percent.
In his presentation to the Budget Committee, Dunn said the main drivers of the increase are a net increase in the road improvement budget of $198,000 and an additional $119,749 in state-mandated increases the town must make as an employer to the state retirement fund.
Selectmen factored in a 2.5 percent merit pay increase for those employees who qualify or a total of $311,989 for an increase of $22,311 over this year. The proposed 2015 budget also included full funding for an 18th police officer that was funded for 9 months of this year's budget.
The long-term debt budget is up $87,598 for 2015 in anticipation of the first bond payment for the police station project.
He said health insurance increases are budgeted at a 3 percent increase.
Dunn said the net budget amount to be raised by local property taxes recommended by selectmen is up 3.57 percent, to $7,739,073.
As of this writing, the selectmen plan on using a minimum of $805,257 or 3 percent of the town's undesignated reserve fund to offset the amount to be raised by taxes. Dunn said the balance in the fund is $4.5 million which doesn't include any money that will be added to the account at the end of this year.
Dunn said selectmen factored in a growth of 1.5 percent in total taxable property valuation. Although the exact 2014 valuation amount won't be available until early November, Dunn said the town expects it to increase about 2 percent.
The Budget Committee is in the process of reviewing individual department budget requests in subcommittees and is scheduled to review the entire budget on October 23 at 6:30 p.m.
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