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Proposed Franklin budget includes pay increases

Union Leader Correspondent

June 04. 2014 11:19PM

FRANKLIN — The city manager is proposing a budget that is up about 2 percent from last year’s budget, but it stays within the city’s tax cap.

City Manager Elizabeth Dragon is proposing a budget of $10,277,478 for Fiscal Year 2015. Last year’s approved budget was $10,072,555.

The city has a 1.5 percent tax cap, but one-time revenues, including an unexpected rise in revenue from motor vehicle registrations, have allowed the budget to be increased, said Finance Director Judie Milner.

The budget includes step and cost-of-living increases for city employees for the first time in two years.

“The COLA and step increases are significant and have been sacrificed in years past to bring the budget in line and offset health costs,” Dragon said. “I worked diligently to be able to give raises to the employees.”

Inclusion of COLA and step increases was made possible “at the last minute because of the revisit of the city employee health insurance plan,” Dragon said.

The plan originally had a guaranteed maximum rate increase of 13.6 percent, but recently the rates dropped slightly below the current cost of insurance, she said.

“This very important drop brought the estimated health costs increases down $167,652.06, which gave me the room in the budget to include COLA and steps,” Dragon said.

The city is also receiving a “return of surplus” from the state’s Health Trust of $60,000. Rooms and Meals Tax distribution to the city is also expected to increase because the state budget includes an additional $5 million to be distributed to municipalities. Franklin has estimated its share at $31,275, Dragon said.

The City Council is expected to vote on the budget at its meeting on June 10.

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