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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Merrimack surplus is split between savings fund, town improvements

MERRIMACK- From repaving roads to improving town parks, the Merrimack Town Council voted on options for allocating surplus funds at their latest meeting in August. Council members had to allocate a sizable surplus which was left at the close of fiscal year 2014 this past June.

The extra fund balance came to $854,000. Town Manager Eileen Cabanel said the surplus was a result of motor vehicle registrations exceeding projections at around $400,000, as well as money that had been set aside and not spent. The latter largely comprised funds set aside for staff positions which remained vacant, or were filled at a lower salary. ...

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MERRIMACK- From repaving roads to improving town parks, the Merrimack Town Council voted on options for allocating surplus funds at their latest meeting in August. Council members had to allocate a sizable surplus which was left at the close of fiscal year 2014 this past June.

The extra fund balance came to $854,000. Town Manager Eileen Cabanel said the surplus was a result of motor vehicle registrations exceeding projections at around $400,000, as well as money that had been set aside and not spent. The latter largely comprised funds set aside for staff positions which remained vacant, or were filled at a lower salary.

Council members voted for the majority of the money, $509,000, to be put aside in the fund balance. Cabanel said several years prior, townspeople voted on what the ideal fund balance range should be. Voters came up with a range between 4-8 percent of the net school, net county and gross general fund. At the end of the 2013 fiscal year, the fund balance hit below the mark at 3.6 percent, and the year before it was 2 percent. The recent transfer puts the fund balance within the ideal range at 4.2 percent.

Council members also unanimously approved Cabanel’s recommendation to allot $250,000 toward town-wide paving projects and $40,000 for exterior door replacements. The $250,000 allotment for paving would increase the total paving fund to about $925,000. The door replacements would be for 12 exterior doors in need of replacement at the police department and town hall complex at the cost of $3,033 per door. Finance Director Paul Micali said the cost covers the doors, which are metal with insulated glass windows, the push bar, “automatic open” function as well as replacement door frames. The new doors will be more handicapped accessible.

Cabanel had also recommended hiring an architect to fund the design of a future highway garage for a total of $30,000. Micali said he sought advice from industry officials and found that the $30,000 should be sufficient to cover a plan good enough to warrant a bond. Councilor Lon Woods said the project had previously been rejected by the townspeople. Councilor Daniel Dwyer said the project had narrowly missed a supermajority vote by about 100 votes, and may pass again with higher voter turnout. Dwyer said the project may still make it through without additional expenditure.

Instead of the highway garage project, council members voted to allocate $55,000 toward Wasserman Park. Dwyer said Wasserman Park is considered a priority by the council, but loses out on funding year after year.

At the end of the discussion, the council voted to allocate $345,000 toward town improvement projects while setting aside $509,000 to save in the fund balance.

Tina Forbes can be reached at 594-6402 or tforbes@nashuatelegraph.com. Also, follow Forbes on Twitter (@Telegraph_TinaF).