Updated: Dunbarton town meeting postponed

Monitor staff
Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Dunbarton residents will have to wait until Saturday to decide whether the police department should shift a part-time position to full-time and a budget with a moderate increase targeted toward repairs to town buildings.

The Dunbarton town meeting was postponed due to Tuesday’s snowstorm, according to the town’s website. It will now take place at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Elementary School. 

Hot topic: The town of Dunbarton will have to decide whether to approve a new full-time police officer at town meeting.

Article 8 asks residents to approve and raise the sum of $24,548 to hire and equip a full-time police officer. According to the police department’s Facebook page, this would not be a brand-new position but would convert a current part-time position into a full-time position.

The department would look to send one of its part-time candidates to the police academy in August and spread the costs of their training over two years, said police Chief Daniel Sklut. In total, the position would cost the town $48,093, including wages and benefits, in fiscal year 2019.

Sklut said the department plans to cut its part-time staff budget by $20,000 to accommodate the increase in the full-time budget. He said the additional full-time officer will put the department in a better position when he retires in 2022.

The department currently has four full-time police officers, including the chief, and six part-time officer positions, according to its website.

The article is unanimously supported by the select board and would have a tax rate impact of 8 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value.

Budget: The proposed operating budget is $2,395,681, up from last year’s approved budget of $2.27 million.

The biggest increase is in the general government buildings line, which is expected to increase by $80,627 for a total of $197,485. Town administrator Line Comeau said the bulk of that increase will come from repainting the town hall/library and other buildings that need new paint. She said the library’s corner boards are rotting and may need lead reclamation work before being repainted.

The town is anticipating the amount needed to be raised by taxes will be offset by $1 million in revenues and $165,000 from the town’s unassigned fund balance.

If approved, the operating budget will have no impact on the tax rate, according to town documents.

Noteworthy articles: Residents will be asked to put the finishing touches on Grapevine Road, which has gone through three years worth of repaving and needs a final topcoat to be complete. The final phase is expected to cost $100,000 overall. The project will cost $400,000, according to town documents.

Contested races: None.