Amherst budget plan up nearly 3%

AMHERST – The town will hold its annual deliberative session Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Souhegan High School.

At the session, registered voters will be given a presentation on the proposed town operating budget and other warrant articles. Voters will be able to discuss each item on the warrant, and then either approve or amend it.

The version of the warrant agreed upon at the deliberative session will be voted on in the March 10 election.

Here is a look at the warrant that will be presented at the deliberative session:

Budget: The proposed town operating budget is $9,823,300, an increase of $277,313, or 2.93 percent, over the current budget.

The largest increases were in the public works, police and library line items. There is money for a new police officer in the budget. The new officer would be hired midway through the year to help reduce the initial cost.

The default budget, which would go into effect by law if voters reject the operating budget, is $9,729,570.

If the proposed budget passes, it is estimated to add 16 cents to the town portion of the tax rate.

Other warrant articles:

A 15-year, $6 million bond to repair roads. This bond is the first of a proposed series. The other bonds would have to be approved by voters at future elections. Tax impact: 30 cents.

A $1.89 million bond to purchase 104 acres that straddle the town line with Bedford, which would be preserved as open space. Tax impact: 10 cents.

$74,000 for upgraded cardiac defibrillation equipment for ambulances. Tax impact: 4 cents.

$13,237 cardiac resuscitation equipment for ambulances. Tax impact: 1 cent.

$59,080 for the first-year payment on two DPW trucks. Tax impact: 3 cents.

$14,500 to pay for engineering and grant application for a community a septic system at Baboosic Lake. The town would be reimbursed if Amherst receives the grant. Tax impact: 1 cent.

$20,600 for corrosion repair on a 1994 fire engine (engine 1). Tax impact: 1 cent.

Fund the recreation facilities capital reserve fund with up to $250,000 from town surplus fund, if any. Tax impact: None.

$150,000 for the fire vehicle capital reserve fund. Tax impact: 8 cents.

$22,000 for the ambulance capital reserve fund. Tax impact: 1 cent.

$5,000 for the communication capital reserve fund. Tax impact: 1 cent.

$5,000 for the town’s 250th anniversary celebration capital reserve fund. The anniversary is in 2010. Tax impact: 1 cent.

$15,000 for the Forestview Cemetery capital reserve fund. Tax impact: 1 cent.

$15,000 for the highway equipment capital reserve fund. Tax impact: 1 cent.

$40,000 to be divided among health and human services agencies serving people in Amherst. Tax impact: 3 cents.

Petition: $5,500 for the Souhegan Valley Transportation Collaborative, a new service that gives people rides to medical appointments that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to attend. Tax impact: 1 cent.

Petition: $10,000 for legal fees to represent the town in the Merrimack Valley Water Regional District. Tax impact: 1 cent.

Total tax impact: If the budget and all the warrant articles pass, the town portion of the tax rate is estimated go up 85 cents, to $3.89 per $1,000 of assessed property valuation. That means the owner of a home assessed at $300,000 would pay an additional $255 next year.