Derry council to vote on proposed budget
DERRY - After a weeks-long budget process that has seen department budgets cut and department budgets restored, the Town Council will vote on the proposed fiscal year 2014 municipal budget tonight.
In March, Town Administrator John Anderson presented a $37,143,566 budget.
While that figure was lower than the revised fiscal year 2013 budget of $39,819,733, the proposed revenues for fiscal year 2014 are also down, meaning the town would have to raise an additional $325,000 through property taxes over the current year.
Anderson said that increase translates to about a 9 cent increase on the town's tax rate.
Over the course of budget workshops and hearings over the past month, the Town Council made a number of cuts to the proposed budget, including money requested for the police, fire and public works overtime budgets, as well as money earmarked for economic development.
However, the grand total trimmed from the budget amounted to just under $15,000 as the council voted to reinstate the Taylor Library's $176,000 budget.
"My feeling is that it is a very nice library, but if you're going to start looking at laying off police officers and firefighters or cutting public safety in the community, I would much rather cut a 1,000-square-foot library," Anderson said during a budget workshop.
However, the supporters of the Taylor Library came out in force to several council meetings urging councilors not to cut the budget. Before the vote to move the Taylor Library budget forward even came up, five of the seven councilors said they had no intention of cutting the library's funding.
The $20,800 budgeted for the farmers market director position also came up for some heavy debate, with several councilors saying they couldn't support the position because the market itself only brought in about $11,000 in revenue last year.
"When we're paying someone $20,000 to run a market that is only bringing in $10,000 for the town, for me, that just doesn't make good economic sense," said Councilor Mark Osborne, who made an unsuccessful motion to reduce the position to $5,000.
That motion failed after Anderson stated that the position and the market itself would be cut entirely if the budget was lowered to $5,000.
Tonight's Town Council meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. in the third floor meeting room at the Derry Municipal Center.