RINDGE — Three months after conflicting votes on numerous articles voided the approved town budget, voters will have their chance to discuss a new proposed budget at a deliberative session Tuesday at 7 p.m.
A special town meeting ballot vote to approve the budget is set for July 30.
The proposed $3,707,000 12-month budget would be a 2.5 percent increase over last year's budget, but would be $68,759 less than the default budget because of a mix of increases, including retirement and health care costs, and temporary reductions, including the currently vacant planning director position, said Town Administrator Carlotta Pini on Thursday.
"We were also able to scale back on the Planning Board's contracted services because they were awarded a grant this year," Pini said.
In March, confusing voting results left the town without an operating budget.
Town meeting voters approved an 18-month budget 558 to 381. However, voters rescinded — 530 to 394 — last's years vote to transition to a fiscal year budget from a calendar year budget that made the 18-month budget necessary.
A proposed bond article for $1.5 million to soften the tax burden caused by the one-time 18-month budget necessary for shifting the budget from a Jan. to Dec. calendar year to a July to June fiscal year, also failed, 411 to 538.
Following the meeting, Pini said it was hard to know the intention of the voters. So the town petitioned Cheshire County Superior Court to hold a special town meeting so that a 12-month budget could be proposed."We had the Selectmen and Budget Advisory Committee working in tandem with the petition making it through the court so by the time we had our court date we had finalized our budget proposals and the judge was very agreeable to our proposal, so I think it's been going very smoothly," Pini said.Town officials had thought switching to a fiscal year budget would make budgeting with its cooperative school district as well as the state, which both run on fiscal years, easier.
Pini said town officials have no plans to propose the switch again.
"I think we tried that and it didn't work out and we're moving on," she said.