Town Administrator Walter Johnson presented the 2017 Operating and Capital Budget Review at Thursday's BoS meeting. Net appropriation proposed for 2017 is $7,010,255.86. That is $626,702.72 less than approved by voters in 2016, a very significant reduction of 8.2%.
Included in this budget is the so called " Hearts and Flowers" requests, that beginning in 2017 Town Meeting, will be included in the operating budget in the Human Services line item. In the past, this has amounted to about $70,000 and is usually motioned at Town Meeting to be bundled and voted on all together. To date, the requests are just over $50,000.
All organizations requesting funding have been asked to provide supporting documentation for their requests and are encouraged to attend the budget hearing.
A new capital reserve fund is being proposed for road programs, and $850,000 will be on the warrant to fund it in 2017. Of that amount, $830,000 is proposed to be withdrawn for 2017 road projects.
The Unassigned Fund Balance ( the difference between assets and liabilities ) has a target " ceiling" of 12.5% and for the past few years has grown to over 20%. This is money that has already been appropriated. The NH Department of Revenue Administration recommends a balance of 5 to 10%. The proposed budget uses a significant amount of that fund balance to offset tax levy allocations. There is no guarantee that the fund balance excess will be available to this extent in the future to offset the tax levy, but for the present and near future, the town is in excellent financial health.