February 07. 2013 10:55PM

At Goffstown session, budget is $19 million

Union Leader Correspondent

GOFFSTOWN - Warrant articles went unchanged at the town's deliberative session Wednesday night, including a $19 million operating budget.

Should voters pass the operating budget and all warrant articles, the estimated town portion of the tax rate will be $9.62, a 23 cent increase over 2012, or an additional $50 on a $220,000 home.

Article 11 is the town's operating budget, which is set at $19,382,591. Included in that figure are dollar amounts that could be removed if voters choose to set up revolving funds for cable television and police details.

Vice Chairman Scott Gross said the budget increased by about $391,000, which included $160,000 for employee retirement costs downshifted from the state, $78,000 for dental and health insurance premiums, and the remainder for fuel and heating oil costs and wages.

"The vast majority of the line items, for the most part, were level funded," Gross said.

Article 12 will ask voters to approve a collective bargaining agreement for DPW workers, which will cost $30,208 its first year.

. Articles 13, 14, 15 and 16 will have no tax impact, because funding will come from a combination of the town's unassigned fund balance, impact fees and grant money.

. Article 13 sets aside nearly $277,000 for the purchase of computer software for town offices.

. Article 14 asks for $169,000 for police department software.

. Article 15 wants voters to expend $120,000 for the repair of a culvert on town land, and;

. Article 16 sets aside $761,000 for improvements at Main and Pleasant streets, and Main, Elm and High streets.

About $461,000 for the intersection improvements will come from a Congestion Mitigation Air Quality grant from the Department of Transportation.

Selectman Collis Adams said preliminary project designs recommend a roundabout at the intersection of Main and Pleasant streets.

According to Board of Selectmen Chairman David Pierce, the town's fund balance is currently at $5.4 million, and even with the withdrawal of $819,000 for the four warrant articles, it remains well within limits acceptable to the Department of Revenue Administration.

Pierce said the fund balance is used for one-time projects, not ongoing expenses.

. Article 17 will request $75,000 to be put into the Fire Apparatus Capital Reserve Fund.

. Articles 18 and 19 seek to establish revolving funds for purposes currently in the budget - PEG TV and Police Special Detail.

Should those articles pass, the operating budget will be reduced on both the expenditure and revenue side of the budget.

The first fund will be for cable access television provided by GTV, the town's cable access channel.

GTV expenses and revenues are included in the 2013 operating budget. If both the cable revolving fund and operating budget are approved, $84,000 will be removed from the operating budget and 40 percent of the cable revenue received from the town's cable franchise agreement with Comcast will be placed into that fund.

Resident Brad Parkhurst spoke in favor of the article, which he said would increase the quality of the programming.

"Broadcasts will be so much better with the passage of this article," he said.

Voters will also be asked to approve a revolving fund for police details. If the operating budget is approved along with this fund, an additional $55,000 will be removed from the operating budget, and all special police detail revenue paid by vendors will be placed into the fund.

Voters did not amend Article 20, which will seek $20,000 to support the Main Street Program, or a petitioned warrant article, Article 21, seeking $20,000 for the support of Crispin's House, a youth services program.