Dunbarton’s budget increase offset by surplus funds

By SRUTHI GOPALAKRISHNAN

Monitor staff

Published: 02-09-2024 12:34 PM

Modified: 02-09-2024 1:00 PM


For Dunbarton residents, the town has achieved a minimal 1.15% increase in its operating budget by utilizing surplus fund balances to support a portion of operational costs, effectively easing the burden on taxpayers.

Selectman David Nault credits the achievement of keeping the budget this low to the responsible spending of department heads, without whom it would not have been possible.

“They kept level services and pretty much level of funding throughout the year,” Nault  said at the budget hearing on Thursday evening. “To do this year after year is huge and we’ve been able to juggle money from one department to the other, to keep the needs of the town still moving forward, yet keeping our budget somewhat steady for the taxpayer.”

The proposed operating budget stands at $3.31 million, with $148,000 sourced from the fund balance surplus to offset costs. If approved, the estimated tax impact rate would be $4.59, compared to last year’s rate of $4.42. The 17 cent increase means about $50 more per year in taxes for a home worth $300,000.

Several warrant articles, including the purchase of expensive vehicles such as a new fire engine, ambulance, and dump truck, are funded through a combination of capital reserve funds and surplus from the unassigned fund balance. These warrant articles have no tax impact.

Recognizing the challenges of maintaining roads, especially during harsh winters, a warrant article proposes hiring a full-time highway employee. This article carries the highest tax impact at 18 cents.

If all warrant articles are passed, the projected tax rate would increase to $4.82.

Residents will also vote on whether to adopt community power at the town meeting in March.

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