Ambulance contract also not set; spending on parks is increased
By RICK GREEN, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — A blueprint for expenditures in the new fiscal year has won City Council approval, but a few funding questions remain, including the ultimate cost of a new contract for police officers and potential unanticipated expenses involving the Colonial Theatre refurbishment.
The City Council on Monday night passed a $67.5 million appropriation for the city, the county and the school district for the fiscal year that began July 1. The municipal portion of that is about $25 million.
Property taxes will go up 1.3 percent, or a $56 yearly hike for a $200,000 home.
One bit of spending still to be finalized is the cost of a new union contract for police officers. Council members rejected an initial proposed contract and negotiations are continuing on a new pact. The reason for the rejection was not clear as bargaining requirements preclude council members from talking publicly about labor contracts before they are approved.
City Manager Scott Myers said there will be adequate money in the new budget to cover police costs.
“We've got a bucket of money toward collective bargaining,” Myers said. “What we try to do for personnel costs, wages and benefits is to have an appropriate amount of money there to cover us if there is a contract or if there is not a contract.”
Another financial question involves the Colonial Theatre refurbishment. There is a chance the city could be asked to take a greater role in funding that project.
The City Council is to take up that subject next month.
“We're targeting the first meeting in August for that so stay tuned,” Myers said.
Also still to be finalized is a new ambulance service contract with LRGHealthcare. Myers has said he is confident the new contract can be handled within the Fire Department's new budget.
The overall budget approved by the City Council on Monday was very similar to one Myers proposed in April.
A few changes came in the form of spending on parks. This new spending included $40,000 to study erosion at city beaches, $35,000 for a new fence at Opechee Park, $25,000 for park basketball court improvements and $20,000 for a paved pathways through Opechee Park, connecting the Middle School campus with North Main Street.
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