Fair Haven Considers Revised Budget
Voters in Fair Haven are going to the polls today to consider a town budget that's the lowest since fiscal year 2006-2007. Still, if the budget passes, Fair Haven's municipal tax will go up about 4.25 percent.
Fair Haven is currently operating on a $1,937,814 budget, however last year taxpayers voted to use a budget surplus from the previous year for a one-time tax reduction. At Town Meeting in March, voters rejected a $1,908,559 budget proposal, which would have been a 1.5 percent decrease from current spending.
On Tuesday, voters are considering a revised $1,861,421 budget, which is about 4 percent less than the current budget.
In a mailing to Fair Haven residents, the select board explained the town is taking on the full cost of a police officer position that was grant funded for three years prior to the current fiscal year, and paid for by reserve funds and the surplus carry-over in the current budget.
From FY 2010 - 11 through FY 2012 - 14, a US Dept. of Justice C.O.P.S. grant helped to create and fund the position for 4 years. The grant fully funded the position (100% of salary and benefits) for 3 of the 4 years. For FY 2013 - 14, the grant obligated the Town to fully pay for the position for at least 1 year. It did, with the use of voter approved reserve funds along with some carry forward surplus funding. For FY 2014 - 15, if the revised budget is approved, the Town will be fully funding the position for its fifth year but without the aid of any grant funds, reserve, or carry forward amount.
The select board also noted several appropriations were already passed by voters in March, and will not be re-voted. Line items for the Recreation Building Fund and the recreation director did not pass at town meeting and are not included in the current budget proposal.
Budget items that passed at Town Meeting include the following: Rescue Squad, Rutland Area VNA, Rutland Mental Health, Fair Haven Concerned, Council on Aging, Retired Senior Volunteer Program, Fair Haven Library, BROC, Association of Retarded Citizens, Castleton Community Seniors, Marble Valley Regional Transit District (the Bus), and Park Restoration/Tree Replacement.
The board outlined this budget overview, with the percent change for each budget category:
- General Government $363,480 ( - 3.66%)
- Emergency Management $1,900 (0.00%)
- Police/Constables $295,172 (2.38%)
- Fire, Forest Fire Warden $46,150 ( - 8.43%)
- Cemetery $32,200 (11.58%)
- Transfer Station $192,714 ( - 18.21%)
- Recreation $46,200 (0.00%)
- Benefits $322,950 ( - 5.51%)
- Reserve Amounts $97,446 ( - 7.90%)
- Public Works $463,209 (0.34%)
Polls are open from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. at the American Legion #49, off South Main Street, in Fair Haven.