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January 08. 2013 10:25PM

Littleton residents to get first look at latest budget

LITTLETON - Residents of Littleton will get their first chance to voice their opinions on the town's proposed 2013 budget when the board of selectmen holds a budget hearing on Thursday night.

The proposed 2013 operating budget is $7,833,599, which is up $240,000, or about 3.6 percent, from the 2012 operating budget, according to Town Manager Fred Moody. The municipal portion of the town's 2012 property tax was $7. Moody said if the budget is approved, that would drop to $6.59. If all warrant articles are approved, it would go up to $7.19.

The rate does not include the school district's budget, which is voted on separately, or the county tax. According to the state Department of Revenue Administration, the total property tax obligation in 2012 for Littleton was $21.07.

Moody said the selectmen used $175,000 from the undesignated fund balance to offset the town's portion of the property tax, which otherwise would have been $7.23 per thousand.

Two town employee unions have ratified new contracts, which, if approved by the voters, would have a tax impact of $.01 and $.02, or $5,138 and $18,634. The default budget is up $110,000 from the 2012 budget, or 1.4 percent.

The proposed budget includes funds for a new part-time position at the Littleton Police Department and summertime help in the highway department. Moody said the town has found savings in changing health insurance carriers.

The town is proposing borrowing for the following: $130,000 for the boiler in the public safety complex; $209,000 for a street sweeper for the highway department; $200,000 for Downtown Revitalization loan refinance; and $259,000 for road projects.

The selectmen approved the default and proposed budgets on Dec. 19, with selectmen Marghie Seymour, Mike Gilman and Milton Bratz voting in favor of the budgets.

In the town's March 2012 annual meeting voting, residents turned down the selectmen's proposed budget of $7,753,435, so the town is working with a default budget. The 2011 default budget was $98,849 more than the 2011 operating budget.

In 2011, voters at the deliberative session of the annual meeting slashed more than $700,000 from the proposed budget, which was later approved by voters.

The budget hearing and bond/loan hearings start at 6 p.m. in the Littleton High School cafeteria.

The deliberative session for the town is on Tuesday, March 12, with ballot voting following on Tuesday, March 12.

sknox@newstote.com


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