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March 31. 2013 7:26PM

Peterborough's operating budget up 2.2 percent

PETERBOROUGH - An $11,878,659 town operating budget, up 2.2 percent from last year, is on the table for the deliberative session Tuesday night at 7 p.m.

"The issues we are dealing with are the same issues that everyone is dealing with," Town Administrator Pam Brenner said.

Those issues include rising health insurance and retirement costs for employees, she said.

The town has also budgeted $30,000 to deal with costs brought on by the Affordable Care Act that take effect next year, Brenner said.

"At this junction we have some part-time employees that are over 30 hours a week," Brenner said.

Under the Affordable Care Act, employees working over 30 hours a week are to be provided an affordable health insurance premium by employers or the employers pay a penalty.

Brenner said it is not clear right now if the town would offer coverage or pay the penalty. Those costs are not known, she said.

Town officials are being cautious.

"We do believe we're going to have to pay something for those employees that are over the 30 hours a week," Brenner said.

She referred to the budgeted funds as a "place holder."

"The exchanges haven't been set up or anything," she said. "We're kind of in limbo."

Two other warrant articles are up for discussion: a request to raise $155,000 to place into the Fleet Management Capital Reserve Fund and a request to raise $50,000 to place into the Financial Management Software/Hardware Capital Reserve Fund.

Ballot voting is set to take place on Tuesday, May 14 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Peterborough has a hybrid-form of town government, allowing for a third session, which is in the form of a traditional Town Meeting.

The third session of the Annual Town Meeting at the Town House is planned for Wednesday, May 15, at 7 p.m.

Town officials have saved certain warrant articles for the open session, Brenner said, including the three warrant article addressing the mothballed Grand Army of the Republic Hall, owned by the town, and in need of a major renovation and the $2.6 million bond article for much-needed infrastructure repairs to Union Street.


mpierce@newstote.com

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