Missed opportunity in Weare
March 07. 2018 12:05AM
To the Editor: In 2016, Weare’s approved town operating budget reflected a 2 percent increase from 2015. In 2017, the approved amended town budget reflected a 0.3 percent decrease of $108,000. In both cases, town services went unaffected.
In fact the fire department rescue extended coverage to 15 hours per day, seven days a week. The police department survived in spite of not being able to find candidates for three years to fill two budgeted positions at $600,000. For many years, Weare has been served well with 1 percent to 3 percent budget increases.
For 2018, the board of selectman proposed a budget that reflects a 6.3 percent increase from 2017. The default budget reflects a 5.1 percent increase; not much of a choice. A 3.1 percent increase amendment was proposed, but failed. Your selectmen added $108,000 back into the default budget this year, which was the amount amended out last year, thus creating an inflated default baseline dollar amount.
Make no mistake, some budget increases result from obligations you voted for: pay raises, new personnel, and some contracts. Two contracts your selectmen entered without you voting on were a 7 percent increase for the police chief, and the town administrator 18 percent increase. With the deliberative session over, your opportunity to amend proposals has passed. With voting on March 13, you get a second chance to direct your tax dollars. Those impacts will appear on your December 2018 tax bill.