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Derry officials say first-quarter finances strong

DERRY - As town officials begin work on a fiscal year 2014 budget that could see an increase of as much as $630,000 in additional expenses handed down by the state, there is good news on the financial ledger for the current fiscal year.

Town Finance Director Frank Childs and Controller Janice Mobsby recently updated the town council on the first quarter of Derry's current fiscal year.

"The unassigned general fund balance, which is the number everyone cares about, totals $13.4 million," said Mobsby.

The balance during the first quarter last year was just under $10 million, according to Childs.

The increase is primarily from grant reimbursements for capital projects and money from the bond proceeds for the Route 28 road reconstruction project, which is nearing completion.

In preliminary discussions for the fiscal year 2014 budget, several councilors have raised the possibility of using some of the town's unassigned fund balance to help pay for capital items in the budget.

According to Childs, the town tries to keep the unassigned fund balance at 12.5 percent of the municipal budget. It currently is at 15.4 percent.

The town's books have also been helped by collecting back property taxes through liens and property takings. Council Chairman Brad Benson noted that the 2008-10 back taxes have been cleaned up considerably and that the amount owed from those years is down $1.2 million from the previous year.

Overall, Childs said no major financial issues have presented themselves during the first quarter of fiscal year 2013.

"There are no unusual revenues or expenses," Childs said, adding that he and Mobsby will likely be back before the council by the end of February to discuss the second-quarter financial picture.

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