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Friday, January 13, 2012

Hudson moves forward with modest increases for town, school budgets

HUDSON – The Hudson Budget Committee quickly approved both the town and school district budgets during a meeting Wednesday night.

Voters will take on both plans at Town Meeting in March. Both budgets include modest increases.

The school budget, including two contracts that have no pay increases, is up 1.8 percent to $45.8 million.

The town budget is up $28.4 million, an increase of 0.7 percent, and will add 20 cents to the tax rate, according to budget documents.

The much larger school budget came in less than the default budget for the second year in a row.

The state requires districts to propose a backup budget that’s based on the previous year’s plan plus some increases in case the proposed budget fails.

The default budget is about $800,000 higher than the proposed budget. That increase comes mostly from a 5 percent increase in benefits and a 1.8 percent increase in salaries.

Budget Committee and School Board member Amy Sousa said increases in transportation costs and out-of-district special education placements led the board to eliminate or reduce certain positions at Hudson Memorial School and Alvirne High School.

The Town Meeting warrant will also include two contracts. Both are three-year deals that include no raises for the districts janitors and secretaries, according to budget documents.

The town’s budget is up less than 1 percent, thanks in part to the town’s waste removal contract costing about $100,000 less than the current contract, according to Budget Committee member Ted Luszey.

The largest portions of the budget – the police department and department of public works – will increase by 0.9 percent and 0.4 percent respectively, according to the budget.

The town warrant includes a number of articles that would raise more money, including contracts with police and fire employees and the town’s support staff.

The three-year police and fire contract would raise salaries by about $50,000 in the second year, about $1,500 per employee, and by about $35,000 in the third year.

Budget Committee member Normand Martin voted against recommending the contract.

Other articles include requests to spend $500,000 to pave about 2 miles of town roads, $300,000 for a senior center capital reserve fund and $165,000 to replace an ambulance. About $15.7 million of the town budget would be raised through taxes. That’s because other revenues increased by about $300,000.

That would result in an estimated $5.38 per $1,000 of valuation tax rate. That’s up about 20 cents from the current rate, according to budget documents.

The town will hold its deliberative session at 9 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 4.

Secret ballot voting will take place from 7 a.m.-8 p.m. Tuesday, March 13.

Joseph G. Cote can be reached at 594-6415 or jcote@nashuatelegraph.com.