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    Sunday, July 21, 2024

    Groton RTM approves $148.9 million budget

    Groton ― The Representative Town Meeting on Thursday wrapped up its review of the 2023-24 budget and approved an approximately $148.9 million budget.

    The RTM approved the budget passed last month by the Town Council, with one reduction of $121,000 in debt service, said Town Manager John Burt. He said staff recommended the reduction after the town received a better interest rate on school building debt than originally anticipated.

    The budget for next fiscal year is about $6.2 million more than the current spending plan.

    Burt said the plan is to use $4.5 million of the town’s fund balance to soften the impact on taxes, and the tax rate would increase from 21.28 mills to 22.13 mills. However, the Town Council on Tuesday will officially set the use of the fund balance and the tax rate.

    The town manager initially presented about a $149.4 million town and school budget. During its deliberations, the council reduced proposed funding for some capital projects, while adding funding for other items, including speed signs, a Parks and Recreation position, Human Resources position and a part-time clerical position in the town manager’s department. The council overall reduced the town manager’s budget by $412,040.

    The RTM on Thursday reviewed budgets for public works and public works capital improvement projects, and sewer, solid waste, and fleet reserve funds, as well as capital reserves.

    While most items on Thursday passed unanimously by the members, some had questions or criticisms on some items, such as wanting to see more savings in salt due to the mild winter or questioning the purchase of a new tractor for roadside mowing, rather than using existing equipment.

    Public Works Director Greg Hanover and Burt said more advanced equipment is needed for roadside mowing and to reach behind guardrails, particularly due to a town ban on the use of Roundup.

    Hanover said the price of salt has increased and the savings from less use of salt were offset by rising heat and electricity costs. He said the town would run out of its salt pile after a couple of storms next year and it has to prepare for the potential for additional storms.

    k.drelich@theday.com

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