April 03, 2020

Surry voters to weigh increases in 2 budgets

SURRY – Voters will face increases in both the school and municipal budgets when they gather for the annual town meeting.

Municipal elections will be held from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday at the municipal building. Discussion of the warrant articles will begin at 7 p.m. Monday at the elementary school gym.

The municipal budget this year totals $714,582, an increase of $72,802 from last year, according to Selectman Eleanor Carlisle.

Road expenditures have increased this year, reflecting a new three-year contract for winter maintenance, Carlisle said. In addition, the town is asking voters to appropriate $32,250 for a road reconstruction project on Thatcher’s Hill.

The selectmen have drawn on other funds to pay for most of the increases in the budget, Carlisle said, including an increase in revenues due to “hefty” penalties on properties. The town will not need to vote to exceed state taxation limits established by LD1, either on the municipal or school budgets.

The selectmen also have recommended that the total amount appropriated for

nonprofit and service organizations be limited to 2 percent of the municipal budget.

That limit would allow for $14,011.42 in spending for those agencies. In addition, selectmen opted to fund only those organizations the town has funded in the past and that have served someone in the town, Carlisle said.

Based on that funding level, the selectmen cut each individual request by 35.1 percent.

The proposal was a compromise reached after members of the finance committee had recommended against appropriating any town funds for those outside agencies.

In a separate article, the town will ask voters to modify a policy they adopted in 1980 regarding the duties of the town’s administrative assistant. That vote assigned the duties of tax collector and treasurer to the administrative assistant. The proposed change would authorize the selectmen to assign the duties of the administrative assistant and to appoint one or more additional people to serve in those other offices if they deem it necessary.

The town is currently seeking a new administrative assistant and has advertised the position under the old policy, Carlisle said. If the proposal is approved, the selectmen would have more flexibility in assigning duties if they determine the combined duties are too much for one individual.

The school budget this year totals $2,425,491, an increase of $117,021 from last year.

Carlisle is unopposed as she seeks another three-year term. There are two candidates seeking to fill a three-year seat on the school committee: Harold Casey Jr. and Laura Pellerano.

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