TOWN MEETING DAY: Richford budget lays out use of surplus funds

Spending plan includes part of school cop costs

Michelle Monroe

By Michelle Monroe

Staff Writer

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RICHFORD — Richford voters will be asked on Town Meeting Day to allocate a $140,600 budget surplus from 2013 and approve a 2014 budget that is slightly less than the 2013 budget.

“We’re very frugal and we kept the budget on target,” said selectboard chair Linda Collins when asked about the surplus.

Town administrator Laura Ovitt said that delinquent tax collection was higher than anticipated, also adding to the surplus.

The proposed budget is $2.11 million, down $2,250  from last year.

A portion of the 2013 surplus, $50,000, was budgeted for work on the town’s vault. That work wasn’t completed, and the selectboard intends to keep those funds in the budget to complete that project.

The bulk of the surplus, $98,800 will be used to offset taxes for next year. The public will be asked to approve the following uses for the remainder:

• $20,000 for additional paving;

• $12,000 for a new roof on the Arvin A. Brown Library;

• $12,800 for a down payment on a one ton pickup for the public works department.

The proposed highway budget is down $43,700, primarily because of decreases in equipment leasing costs and culvert work. The highway budget does include increases for salt, sand and gravel purchases and an additional $20,000 for blacktopping. Total projected highway spending is $911,200.

If voters approve the budget, the amount to be raised in new taxes will be $1.16 million and the anticipated tax rate is $0.7235.

Voters will be asked to approve individual small amounts of money for multiple local non-profit agencies and organizations.

Also on the town ballot is $25,000 to pay for a school resource officer whose hours would be split between the town and school.

The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office has received a federal Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grant to pay $119,600 for a school resource officer in Richford over four years.

The town and school are proposing to split the remainder of the deputy’s salary, $145,400 over four years. The school is proposing to pay $18,355 per year. The town would pay $18,019 for the officer’s salary and an additional $5,000 each year to pay for a police cruiser.

The proposal is for a year-round position in which the officer will patrol in Richford on the days when school is not in session.

The town’s budget also includes $123,800 for the purchase of law enforcement services in the town, with $113,500 of that total going to an existing contract with the sheriff’s department for 56 hours of patrol time each week.