More money for roads

Laconia plans to spend on repairs


LACONIA — The new Laconia city budget proposal for the coming year totals $25.14 million and calls for a 1.3 percent increase in property tax, which would result in a $56 a year hike for a $200,000 home, City Manager Scott Myers said Monday.

The city operates under a tax cap approved by voters in 2005, which allows taxes to go up by factoring in the inflation rate and new assessed construction value. The spending plan also takes advantage of new money not associated with property tax.

Myers said the city's revenue picture allows for the funding of basics, but not for increases in staffing to police, which is tasked with fighting the community's drug crisis, or to the Fire Department, which is responding to an increasing number of calls for emergency services.

Myers' proposed budget for the new fiscal year calls for city, or non-school, spending to increase by $1.29 million, or 5.4 percent over the current year. A good deal of this increase is the result of one-time revenue from the sale of property.

Meanwhile, school spending, excluding federal and food service funds, is to increase by $604,984 or 1.9 percent, while the estimated Belknap County tax assessment remains level at $2.48 million.

A miscellaneous category of revenue showed an $840,118 increase, resulting largely from a return of an overpayment into the Concord Regional Solid Waste Cooperative and a sale of property in the amount of $508,000.

The budget calls for $1.55 million in street repairs.

“The roads are a big problem throughout New England,” Myers said. “They take a beating. Look at what we've seen over the last two months with freeze and thaw cycles.

“You go to other parts of the country where they don't have the freezing weather and it's a lot less of an issue.”

It also calls for $125,000 in citywide drainage improvements and $100,000 in radio tower upgrades for police and fire departments.

Myers' budget amounts to the start of a process that won't conclude until council approval of a spending plan over the summer.

The budget governs spending in the fiscal year that begins July 1.