To The Daily Sun,
At first glance the proposed Sanbornton town operating budget for FY 2017 looks impressive. Total expenditures are expected to be down $170,825. But look closer and something does not add up because almost every department has a cost increase: i.e.: Highway, 9 percent; Recreation, 5 percent; Fire, 4 percent; General Government, 3 percent, etc.
How can so many department expenses be up and total expenditures be down from last year? One reason lies in the debt service account. The Y-Project highway bonds were paid off in 2015, saving Sanbornton $142,316 in principal and interest. Rather than setting the savings aside for the upcoming Lower Bay Road rebuilding project, the money was used to fund department increases. So the true cost of the FY 2017 budget will not become obvious until Sanbornton has to float a larger bond issue along with a tax increase when the Lower Bay construction begins.
To be sure there are justifiable increases. A 9 percent increase in the chronically underfunded Highway Department seems warranted to me. But with Sanbornton's sluggish growth and a low inflation rate other increases do not. This year's 2 percent employee wage increase in addition to last year's 1.5 percent seems excessive, as does a 7 percent raise for the fire chief, a 5 percent raise in library expenses, and a $900 raise for the tax collector after last year's 12.5 percent increase.
Disagree? Make your voice heard at the Town Meeting at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 9, in the Sanbornton Central School.
- Category: Letters
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