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July 24. 2013 9:29PM

Rindge will hold special town meeting on Tuesday on budget

RINDGE — Voters go to the polls Tuesday for a special town meeting to vote up or down on a proposed 12-month town budget.

Voting is planned to take place at Rindge Memorial School from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Conflicting votes on many articles voided the 18-month town budget approved at the March Town Meeting.

Town Administrator Carlotta Pini said she is doing her best to get the word out about the special town meeting.

“It’s always important for townspeople to be involved in their local decision-making,” she said. “In this instance, the budget that’s being proposed was developed with good cooperation between the budget heads, the budget advisory committee and selectmen, and this is their opportunity to be a part of the process.”

The proposed $3,707,000 budget would be a 2.5 percent increase over last year’s budget, but would be $68,759 less than the default budget because of a mix of increases, including retirement and health care costs, and temporary reductions, including the vacant planning director position.

The town was also able to scale back the planning board’s contracted services this year after it was awarded a planning grant.

In March, confusing voting results left the town without an operating budget.

Town meeting voters had approved an 18-month budget 558-381, but voted to rescind, 530-394, last’s year’s vote to transition to a fiscal year budget from a calendar year budget that made the 18-month budget necessary.

A proposed bond article for $1.5 million to soften the tax burden caused by the onetime 18-month budget necessary for shifting the budget from a January-to-December calendar year to a July-to-June fiscal year, also failed, 411-538.

Following the meeting, Pini said it was hard to know the intention of the voters. So the town petitioned Cheshire County Superior Court to hold a special town meeting so that a 12-month budget could be proposed.

Town officials had thought switching to a fiscal year budget would make budgeting with its cooperative school district and the state easier because both run on fiscal years.

mpierce@newstote.com


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