Hollis will weigh $9.27m budget

HOLLIS – The town budget hearing will be at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Town Hall.

At the hearing, registered voters will be given a presentation of the proposed operating budget and other warrant articles, and they will be invited to offer feedback on these.

Afterwards, the Budget Committee and the Board of Selectmen will finalize the budget that will go to voters at the annual Town Meeting in March.

The Budget Committee votes to recommend or reject every monetary warrant article that appears on the ballot.

Here is a look at the warrant that will be presented at the public hearing:

The proposed town budget for the calendar year 2009 is $9,274,138, an increase of $196,236, or 2.16 percent.

The budget increase is mainly the result of capital lease payments voters approved at the 2008 Town Meeting for lease-to-purchase agreements on three major pieces of equipment for the Fire Department and five major pieces of equipment for the Department of Public Works.

The budget for 2008 represented six months of lease payments.

By contrast, the 2009 budget includes 12 months of lease payments, resulting in an increase of $122,333 in 2009 spending.

The other significant increase is in the road-rebuilding request, which is a $74,000 jump over the 2008 budget.

In addition, the town is projecting revenues will fall as a result of fewer motor vehicle registrations and building permit fees, as well as less interest income.

If approved, the budget will increase the town portion of the tax rate by 26 cents per $1,000 of assessed property valuation, to $4.83. That means the owner of a $350,000 home will pay an additional $91 in property taxes, for a total town portion of $1,690.50.

Other monetary warrant articles include employee health insurance, $719,590, a decrease of $4,900 over last year; brush removal to clean up after the Dec. 12 ice storm, $200,000 (offset by a Federal Emergency Management Agency grant of $150,000); money for accrued vacation balances (compensated absences), $20,000; and an emergency maintenance fund, $26,000.

There also will be nonmonetary warrant articles that officials are currently discussing with legal counsel.