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Candia selectman not happy with budget

CANDIA — With the Budget Committee set to start discussing the Board of Selectmen’s $2.3 million proposed budget Wednesday night, Select Board member Amanda Soares voiced her displeasure with the budget during the selectmen’s meeting Monday night.

Soares said the budget was too large, and had areas that should have been cut.

The other selectmen, however, disagreed.

“Candia’s proposed budget is a very good one, I think that we tried real hard to keep it down where it should be, people can’t afford more taxes, they can’t afford to pay more money,” Select Board Chair Frederick Kelley said.

The proposed budget approved by the board last month is for $2,368,032 which, if approved, would constitute a slight increase over the 2013 operating budget of $2,339,564. According to town officials, it is unknown what the proposed budget would equate to in terms of residents’ tax rates as the state Department of Revenue of Adjustment has yet to finish crunching the numbers.

“It is a small percentage increase, about one percent from last year’s (operating) budget to this year’s (proposed) budget, which is very low. It’s a very good budget,” board member Carleton Robie said of the budget.

However, during Monday night’s board meeting Soares abstained in voting to recommend restoring the roughly $2,500 membership fee to the Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission, insinuating that while the arguments to restore the funding were sound, her unhappiness with the budget overall precluded her from voting on it.

“I have been on the record as saying that I am not happy with this budget,” Soares said during the meeting.“We all know how you feel,” Robie responded.

Robie said after the meeting that he feels the board did a very good job of putting together the budget and that he has every expectation it will work for the community.

“The budget is pretty streamlined, it is pretty much the same as this year’s budget, no services were cut,” Robie said.

While both Robie and Kelley acknowledged Soares’ unhappiness with the budget, both said it was her opinion, and hers alone.

“We definitely do a good job of making sure tax bills are something people can pay. We worked pretty darn hard with our departments to keep it down,” Kelley said.

While the Budget Committee has received the budget and will discuss it Wednesday, Robie and Kelley said that Wednesday’s meeting is expected to allow the Budget Committee to get familiar with the proposed budget.

“Then there will be a meeting (on Nov. 13) where the Budget Committee will meet with the Board of Selectmen and all the department heads so they can ask questions and we can discuss the budget,” Kelley said.

However, despite the fact that the Board of Selectmen has passed its budget along to the Budget Committee, Robie cautioned that there will be a long budgetary process before voters hit the polls in March.

“The Budget Committee must put forth (its) recommended budget, we have to have a deliberative session and then the voters will decide,” Robie said.

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