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    Saturday, July 20, 2024

    Waterford BOF stingy with large tax surplus

    As Waterford residents receive tax bills, now is a good time to talk about how much of our money the town is holding onto as savings/surplus.

    For at least four years, town surplus has exceeded $22 million, after spending $1.8 million to $4 million on other non-budgeted expenditures. In May, surplus for June 30, 2024 was $23,346,148. On June 30, 2023, surplus was $26,746,670; June 30, 2022, it was $23,004,117, and June 30, 2021, it was $22,981,081. The Board of Finance 2015 unassigned fund balance guideline recommends holding 10%-15% of budget as surplus, approximately $10 to $13 million. Surplus has exceeded that by $10M since 2021.

    There have been attempted and failed discussions about reigning in surplus. Unfortunately, the consensus among those who control the purse strings, it seems, is that holding over $22 million of taxpayer money is acceptable.

    When the Board of Finance met in May to set the mill rate, I urged them to consider returning some surplus to taxpayers. RTM member Nick Gauthier and Tax Collector Alan Wilenski also voiced support for the return of a meaningful amount of surplus to taxpayers. We held no sway during deliberations. How much of your money do you think the town should be holding, investing and profiting from?

    Cheryl Larder

    Waterford

    Editor’s note: The writer is a Democratic former member of the Waterford RTM.

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