New Boston 2017 Detailed Budgets

Over the last few months, there has been some information floating around about our town’s detailed budget. Here is a link to such a detailed budget on the Town of New Boston’s website.  Take a quick look for yourself. It’s 11 pages long, but there is another set of detailed budgets that are this long for just one department.

Members of New Boston Taxpayers’ Association Board reviewed the detailed budget numbers for this year, last year and this year’s default budget, a few weeks ago on a particularly snowy Sunday afternoon. We obtained a substantial stack of paper that was closer to 100 pages which provided far more detail in them than posted on the town website. We examined this because, compared to last year, we noticed that the difference between the default budget and the proposed budget for the school and town were much closer to the proposed budget than it was last year. Not to speculate too much, but since budgets have rarely every been voted down (invoking a default budget), it seemed plausible that the default budget presented this year was crafted to be a bit more advantageous for the town departments, should the proposed budgets be voted down again.  Because of this, we looked for one-time expenditures that could be removed from the default budget compared to last year’s budget and we found a significant amount that we presented to the Town Administrator, Peter Flynn, and Selectman Rodney Town. I’d like to thank them for making the time on short notice to accommodate that meeting.

One point that was put out over the last year was that town employees had to forego a raise that was scheduled for them last year because of the default budget. This is not to be confused with contractual agreements for other raises. One example is that the school teacher collective bargaining agreement was in place and raises were given according to the 3-year contract voted in last year. The last time the lack of raise was officially brought up was at our NBTA meeting where Bill Gould (Library Trustee, Town Treasurer and Chairman of the Finance Committee) showed up at our meeting uninvited and told our membership that no one working for the town got raises, but that everyone else in town did get raises. He was referring to the non-town employee residents. The latter comment was met with some laughter. In looking into the detailed budgets, we found that raises were quite prevalent in the budgets. This was confirmed during the meeting with Flynn and Towne.

As was explained to me, the Dept. of Revenue Administration (DRA) has guidelines on default budgets, which New Boston was under last year. Rather than keeping line items, or even departments under the default budget amount from the prior year, the bottom line is the only number that matters. So, they found ways to adjust some expenditures throughout the summer to accommodate giving the raises later than expected. They were originally scheduled for April 1, 2016, but were given on September 1, 2016, instead. Better late than never, but given nonetheless. I am putting this out there because there was a fair amount of negative press about the voters handing the town and school a default budget last year. The town had a $135,000 surplus and the school is expected to have a surplus as well come June 30 this year.  In the end, each item that we found that could have lowered the default budget was affirmed by Flynn and Towne to be allowed.

There is a lot of information here – each department is a separate link.  This is where your tax dollars are going. You be the judge whether it is being used wisely or not.  These documents show detailed expenditures and salaries from last year to what are proposed for the upcoming election.

2017 Building Dept
2017 Cemetery
2017 Conservation-Forestry-Energy
2017 Financial Admin
2017 Fire
2017 Government Buildings
2017 Health Officer
2017 Health & Welfare
2017 Highway Dept
2017 Landfill Monitoring
2017 Library
2017 Patriotic Purposes
2017 Personnel Admin
2017 Planning
2017 Police
2017 Property Liability Ins
2017 Proposed Budget & Est. Revenues
2017 Recreation
2017 Selectmen
2017 Street Lights
2017 Tax Collector
2017 Town Clerk & Elections
2017 Transfer Station
2017 Trustees Expenses
2017 Zoning

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