Preston – The budget table to be presented to residents at a town meeting on Thursday shows inflation-linked cost increases to the school and town budgets, but rising revenues and the base city ​​tax, and the proposed use of $850,000 in city surplus to maintain the tax increase at 1.05 mills.

The Finance Council will present budget summaries to residents on Thursday ahead of any votes to change the budget before it is sent to a referendum on June 22. The city budget meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Preston Plains Middle School, 1 Route 164.

Following any possible votes to cut spending in city or school budgets, voters will send the budgets to the referendum on Wednesday, June 22, with a vote at Preston Plains Middle School.

The finance council voted to send the two budgets to the municipal assembly without modifications. The city government’s proposed budget of $4.5 million, including state-funded roadwork, represents an 8.6 percent increase in spending over this year, while the proposed school budget of $13.45 million has an expenditure increase of 7.8%. Not subject to a referendum, the city’s debt service will decrease by 2.9% next year to $755,500.

In past budget discussions, head coach Sandra Allyn-Gauthier cited rising costs for many aspects of the budget, including fuel costs for petrol and diesel up 22%. Allyn-Gauthier budgeted for a 4% increase in employees across the board, still below the Social Security cost-of-living increase.

Superintendent Roy Seitsinger said the proposed budget for the school, with an increase in spending of $977,438, would retain all current programs and staff. Several fixed costs contributed to the proposed increase in spending, Seitsinger said, including a $116,000 increase, an 8% increase in health insurance costs, a $530,000 increase in contract salaries and a $310,000 planned increase in high school and special education tuition.

After reviewing the city’s latest revenue estimates, the Board of Finance proposed using $850,000 of city surplus funds to offset the tax increase, the highest amount since the $750,000 budgeted in 2017 to offset taxes. Using the city’s surplus, along with an 8.7% overall increase in revenue projections, would put the projected tax rate at 27.99 mills, an increase of 1.05 mills over in this year’s budget.

According to the city budget presentation document, for a homeowner whose home is valued at $175,000, the taxes in the proposed budget would increase by $183 next year, from $4,715 to $4,898.

City and school finance director Cindy Varricchio said in recent years the finance board has voted to use some of the city’s surplus to offset taxes, most of the time, l money was not needed, due to budget surpluses or higher than expected revenues.

For the 2021-22 budget, the Finance Council has planned to use $660,000 of surplus funds to cover the budget, but not all or most of it will be needed. City officials “kept” returned $550,000 of the budgeted amount to the undesignated fund, the budget submission document says.

Also on the agenda for Thursday’s town meeting, residents will consider a draft ordinance that will govern the use of the city’s $456,640 in US bailout dollars. The proposed ordinance does not include a spending budget, but directs Selection Boards and Finance to work on a spending proposal that will be presented to residents in a public hearing before being voted on by the Selection Board. .

The ordinance requires that any spending proposal over $50,000 be sent to a town hall.

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