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Gill votes to restore planned budget increases

GILL — Voters restored budget increases planned but not carried out in the spring budget approval process.

With work incomplete and the budget deadline looming, the Board of Selectmen presented voters with a level-funded budget in the spring, promising to revisit requested increases later in the year.

Monday, voters approved an additional $3,000 for trees and forestry, doubling the existing budget, and authorized $1,905 to keep the library open four hours longer each week until the next budget season. Also, $928 was approved for raises for the two librarians, and $400 raised for the cemetery commission to keep pace with lawn care costs.

The $6,233 total is to be raised from taxation.

Voters also approved $6,659 for the annual payment and interest toward the bond used to finance last year’s energy improvements at the elementary school.

Rounding out the maximum 2.5 percent tax levy increase, voters approved a request to place $8,075 in the town stabilization or savings fund, $4,754 from taxes and the remainder transferred from the solid waste district budget.

Resident Jeff Kocsis argued against the tax money toward town savings, suggesting the town wait for the economy to improve before asking for the additional money.

Selectman John Ward said the stabilization account is severely low.

“$133,000 is not going to get us far if we have a problem,” he said.

Selectmen’s Chairwoman Ann Banash said the savings account has been lower but the town has been trying to build it up in recent years and cannot afford to take the money from other sources.

“I understand that and by the same token, I can’t take anymore,” Kocsis said.

Banash said it has been the practice of the Selectboard, the Finance Committee and town meeting voters to raise the maximum levy each year.

All items on the budget but the first were approved unanimously.

The first article would have created a revolving fund to hold revenues from the recycling program currently held in escrow by the waste management district.

Town Administrative Assistant Ray Purington said the article was passed over due to last-minute advice from the Department of Revenue and will likely appear on a later meeting warrant.

You can reach Chris Curtis at:
ccurtis@recorder.com
or 413-772-0261, ext. 257

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