Town budget discussions continue

By Heather McKim

The Jan. 16 meeting of the Shelburne Selectboard continued discussion of the 2013-14 town budget. It was a special session of the Board in which no questions were taken from the public.

The meeting came at the end of a day where the town had received bad news. The Wake Robin lawsuit had been decided in favor of the facility, which meant that the property’s assessed value had been reduced by $9,328,200–taking Wake Robin’s assessed value from $45,433,368 to $36,105,168.

“It is a big deal from the point of what it is going to do to our fund balance,” Town Manager Paul Bohne said.

“We’re going to have to continue our budget discussions with an assumption that we’re going to take a $304,000 hit… from a tax-planning perspective,” Chairman Bill Smith said, referring to the fact that the town will have to pay $304,464 to Wake Robin.

Board members discussed natural resources, paving, and social services as they continued their focus on the numbers for the 2013-14 budget.

“We’re shortchanging ourselves [where we’re at],” Member Tim Pudvar noted regarding paving. Using a roadwork term, he added, “We paint it black and don’t look back.”

For 2013-14, the paving budget is $300,000, which is down by $15,000 from the 2012-13 budget.

“Most departments in this town are extremely responsible in submitting their budgets,” Pudvar said, referring to how conservatively-drawn most department budgets had been.

“The big ticket items are reflective of the high quality of services the town receives,” member Gary von Stange noted.

Bohne pointed to how quickly Shelburne’s roads are cleared after snowfall and the overall quality of the roads. “Our roads are bared before anyone else…we’ve the best cared for roads,” he said.

The meeting ended with the budget remaining at a 4 percent increase over that of the 2012-13 budget. However, members said that they could not reasonably find any place to make further cuts in the budget.

“We’ve had two years where it [the budget increase] has been zero,” Smith noted.

Ultimately, revenue for 2013-14 was expected to be $7,240,913. That would be up by 1.4 percent from the previous budget’s total of $7,135,508.

On the side of expenditures, $7,240,913 was the total. This was an increase of 1.5 percent over the 2012-13 budget.

A final vote on the budget was not taken at the special meeting, however. That was set to be done at the regular meeting on Jan. 22.

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