Almost at the end game. The bottom line of course is the total amount to be raised by taxes. Total appropriations are down about $331,000 from 2014, but the net amount proposed to be raised by taxes in 2015 is just $10,211 less than 2014.
What were the major drivers in the reduction of the Total Gross Appropriations from 2014 to 2015 of $331, 011? In 2014 we spent $275,000 for the purchase of the Adelle Taylor property, $40,000 to amend the Stewarts Ambulance contract for 24/7 paramedic coverage, $62,000 to equip our rescue vehicle for paramedic use ( non-Stewarts) and $17,500 for the Blue Ribbon Commission site study. The total of those items is $394,500. Couple that with some bumps up and down in operating budgets, capital outlay ,reserve funds and revenues and you get to the final bottom line.
It does beg the question though of why then if the total gross appropriations are down $331,011 and revenues are estimated to be $84,000 higher, why is the amount estimated to be raised by taxes just $10,211 less in 2015? The difference for the most part has to do with the fund balance. In 2014 we applied $300,000 to offset spending ( $275,000 for the Taylor property, $25,000 for States Landing improvements) and a total of $540,000 to reduce the tax rate for a grand total of $840,000. In 2015, the proposed offsets are a total of $435,000 or $405,000 less than 2014 ( $50,000 to purchase a police cruiser and $385,000 to offset the tax rate.) Again, balance that with the fluctuations up and down in budgets and revenue etc. and you get to a proposed tax appropriation of $6,943,358. ( Reminder that this does not include the Library, School, County or petitioned warrant articles. It is just for the town portion.)
How does that effect the all important tax rate? The jury is still out on the tax rate as we have some variables that are out of our control such as property valuations, school, county and library budgets.
The Advisory Budget Committee has submitted it's report on the 2015 Town budget and it can be found here on the Town website. My approach to explaining the budget s a bit different from how it has been set out by the ABC, but the end result is essentially the same. I did not discount spending from reserve funds for example.
One last post to follow soon on the budget will address the question of whether spending has really been "flat" the past few years.