Killington draft budget starts at 1 cent tax increaseBy Cristina Kumka
STAFF WRITER | November 21,2012KILLINGTON — The first draft of the town budget is $87,639 more than last year’s budget and includes a 1 cent tax rate hike, after the town plan to cover more than $780,000 in Tropical Storm Irene expenses.
The proposed spending plan of $3,846,128 — up 2.3 percent compared to last year’s budget of $3,758,489 — was put on the table of the three-man Select Board Tuesday of last week.
In the coming weeks, the Board will hear the budget reports of each municipal department in an attempt to preserve the proposals or trim them.
Town Manager Seth Webb prepared the first draft with broad goals from the Select Board, and in an email last week said the proposed budget addressed all the town’s debt obligations, while helping the “employees we have” — with an average 2 percent cost of living salary increase.
That’s offset, according to Webb’s plan, by having fewer full-time staff in 2013, less overhead and reduced health care costs to the town.
The largest percentage cuts are to the town’s Economic Development and Tourism Department — $54,500 is being saved by not employing a full-time director to replace former EDT Director Suzie Dundas, $24,120 is being saved on special events in the summer and fall and $43,072 is being saved on marketing, according to the draft plan.
According to Webb, he thinks the Board can further reduce the budget to keep municipal taxes level.
“I want to work with the board over the next couple of months to finalize this proposal for Town Meeting — and fund our priorities without raising taxes,” Webb wrote in an email.
At the meeting last week, Webb said he would additionally take on the responsibility of running the EDT department.
He also proposed outsourcing town bookkeeping while billing the town golf course operation for accounting services.
The draft plan includes more money for police cruisers and more capital improvement money for the volunteer fire department.
Selectman Jim Haff suggested the Board look into contracting with the fire department so there would be more oversight of where the budgeted money is going and questioned salary increases for employees when, he said, many residents haven’t gotten 2 percent raises this year.
The next budget meeting is scheduled for Dec. 4 at 7:30 p.m.
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