GILFORD — A proposal to withhold the town’s yearly dues payment to the Lakes Region Planning Commission has been dropped, as the commission’s executive director has satisfied most budget committee members of the need for staying in the regional organization.
Committee members had voted to cut the town’s $8,500 yearly dues. The decision was based in part on a bill in the Legislature that would eliminate the state’s nine regional planning commissions by 2015, said Town Administrator Scott Dunn.
The LRPC’s Jeffrey Hayes, who replaced retiring 30-year commission director Kimon Koulet this month, was asked to attend a budget meeting last Thursday night. After answering several questions from committee members, the majority of the committee voted to put the $8,500 payment to the commission back in the town’s proposed $13.1 million budget.
“I’m not sure he convinced all of the committee members, but the majority voted to put the money back after hearing (Hayes) speak,” Dunn said.
The budget proposal includes 31 warrant articles. Among the largest is $1.2 million for the town police station renovation and addition, as well as the town’s first payment into the Lakes Region Mutual Fire Aid system of $78,162, which is now required for the town to use the regional dispatch and support system.
Another big-ticket request is Article 16, which calls for $266,500 to purchase a public works dump truck with plow and accessories and a heavy-duty pickup truck with plow and accessories, but all of the money is to come from reserve funds.
Article 19 similarly requires no tax increases, calling for $50,000 for the rehabilitation of Fire Engine E2. The money will come from a surplus fund balance.
Article 21 asks for $220,000 to buy and equip a new ambulance, with $59,000 to come from the surplus fund balance and the remaining $161,000 come from the Ambulance Services Revolving Fund, again without need to increase taxes.
Tax rate may decrease
Town officials anticipate that the budget will cause the overall tax rate of the town to drop by 26 cents if passed, Dunn said.
The first session of Town Meeting will be held in the high school auditorium on Feb. 5 at 7 p.m. The second session, the actual voting, will take place at the Gilford Youth Center on March 11 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.