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Friday, January 13, 2012

Budget and bond hearing Monday

By KATHY CLEVELAND

Staff Writer

MILFORD – The town will hold a budget and bond hearing on Monday, Jan. 16, at 6:30 p.m. in the Town Hall Auditorium.

The operating budget for 2012-13 now stands at $11.7 million, about 1.8 percent above last year’s spending plan.

Prominent warrant article are a $1.9 million ambulance facility, a replacement for the fire department’s Engine 4 and a new backhoe for the Department of Public Works.

At their meeting Monday night selectmen voted unanimous support for the budget, the ambulance facility and the backhoe.

Replacing the 25-year-old fire truck gained a 4-0-1 vote, with Vice Chairman Gary Daniels abstaining, saying he is undecided.

Daniels also abstained from a vote to the Souhegan Valley Transportation Cooperative’s “Blue Bus,” a $25,000 item, saying the addition of an unexpected $18,000 for the Jennison Road bridge work means the town has to re-think its priorities.

The board supported the bridge article unanimously.

The board also voted unanimous support for social services spending of $35,000, the same as last year, although costs have gone up.

They voted 4-1 for band concerts ($9,000) and for fireworks ($4,500) and unanimously for parade expenses. They unanimously opposed a petition article to increase the income limit for elderly tax exemptions saying it had the potential to be inequitable.

The board was divided on $20,000 for the conservation land fund.

If all warrant articles are approved, said Town Administrator Guy Scaife, the tax rate increase would still be less than 3 percent, which is less than the increase in the cost of living.

On Saturday, March 10, board members will be at the transfer station from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. for a “warrant article outreach,” to answer questions.