Salem selectmen to amend budget proposal due to errorBy CHRIS GAROFOLO
Union Leader Correspondent
October 19. 2017 12:50AM
SALEM — The Salem Board of Selectmen will amend an error in the municipal budget from earlier this week before sending it off to the town Budget Committee.
Town Manager Christopher Dillon said selectmen reviewed and approved most of the proposed budget on Monday, but the board moved a general fund figure that included an item that should have been removed.
The town must revisit the figure of $40,214,739, and reduce it by $250,000 to $39,964,739. That quarter of a million dollars is anticipated for part of the engineering project on Route 28 for culvert replacement, but is intended as a warrant article or financed through road program funds.
The selectmen’s meeting will begin at 6:45 p.m. today in the Knightly Meeting Room in the town offices. If the revisions are made as expected, the budget will go before the Budget Committee at 7 p.m. on Nov. 1 in the Salem High School auditorium.
The budget from Dillon proposes a 2.73 percent tax rate increase, or up 18 cents from the 2016-17 tax rate. With the selectmen’s additions, that figure increases the tax rate by 2.84 percent, or 1 cent more than the initial budget proposal from the town manager.
“Recognizing that we wanted as little tax increase as possible but still being able to handle the new development and growth that is currently going on in Salem, we did the best job that we felt that we would be able to,” Dillon said. “Taking all those things into consideration, I think we did a very good job.”
Dillon said the board included a few items from the fire department that were not in his initial recommendation, although he did include eight new firefighters through the SAFER grant and extra employees in the inspectional services (one fire inspector and one building inspector) to keep projects on track.
“(The board) did remove $110,000 to do a GIS flyover to update our GIS mapping system. It’s been about 15 years since we’ve had that done, and obviously the community has changed a little bit in that time,” Dillon said. “But that’s one that could wait, so it was removed.”
A recommended $25,000 in funding to make the GIS mapping available on the website was also tossed.
Also highlighted in the budget was an additional 12,000 square feet of space for the police station, $10.6 million for water and sewer upgrades and three new law enforcement positions.