TEST PAGE – NOTE: THIS IS NOT AN ACTUAL STORY. Whitefield’s annual town meeting will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 16 at Whitefield Elementary School. The referendum portion of the meeting will be held from 8 a.m. to noon at the same location.
The Board of Selectmen and Budget Committee both recommended similar budgets that are smaller than last year, only differing in their recommendations concerning charitable organizations and the Whitefield Cemetery Corporation.
Last March, voters authorized an overall town budget of $850,144. The selectmen are recommending a budget for fiscal year 2014 of $832,599, or $11,895 less than last year. The Budget Committee is recommending a budget of $838,739, or $5755 less than last year.
The selectmen voted on Jan. 22 not to make any recommendations on raising and appropriating funds for charitable organizations and the Whitefield Cemetery Corporation. In earlier meetings, the selectmen discussed making no recommendations because townspeople can make individual donations to those groups if they choose.
The exception is both the selectmen and the budget committee are recommending $3000 be raised for the Whitefield Food Bank.
The budget committee is recommending a total of $3140 be raised for the other charitable organizations that requested a total of $6966.50, and $3000 be raised for the Whitefield Cemetery Corporation, which requested $5000.
The articles concerning these appropriations were moved toward the beginning of the meeting after the selectmen discussed concerns about voters leaving the meeting after larger budget items were voted on. Each organization will be voted on individually, according to the warrant.
The budget for cutting brush, grading, surfacing, paving and repairing town roads for fiscal year saw the largest recommended increase, from $150,000 to $165,000. Road Commissioner David Boynton asked for the increase to pay for the replacement of culverts and ditching along part of Townhouse Road before it is paved later this year.
The roads budget still only includes enough money to pay for about one mile of paving each year, Boynton said.
The recommended budget for Whitefield Fire and Rescue, including air pack and hose replacement and payments on loans for a fire truck and the fire station is almost $3000 lower than last year.
The recommended budget for the fire and rescue department’s operating budget is $83,000, down from $84,850 last year. The recommend budget for its debt service is $51,357, down from $52,496 last year. The recommendation for capital expenditures on air packs and hose replacement is flat at $9000.