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Town Passes Budget, Unsure of State Plans

 

By Wiley Wood

On Tuesday, June 20, the Town of Norfolk held a special town meeting to vote on a budget for the upcoming fiscal year, which starts July 1.

Although state legislators have failed to agree on a budget, leaving the town unsure what level of support it can expect from the state and whether it will be billed for contributions to the teachers’ pension fund, the Norfolk Board of Finance decided at its June 13 meeting to adopt a best-guess budget.

Michael Sconyers, chairman of the Board of Finance, pointed out that tax collector Sarah Bruso “can’t get the tax bills out until we have a town meeting and a budget.”

Superintendent Mary Beth Iacobelli, who told the board that Botelle School cannot approve contracts for the upcoming year until it knows that funds have been appropriated, welcomed the decision to hold a town meeting.

The budget adopted by the Board of Finance sets the amount to be raised in taxes at $6,704,300, from a grand list of $298 million. The mill rate will climb .36 of a mill, from 22.09 to 22.45 mills. The tax increase over last year is 1.58 percent.

State assistance for education and general government is expected to decline by $85,000 from last year.

The budget for Botelle School was cut by $25,000. Other cuts include $7,500 from the Public Works Department, intended for the demolition of the old ambulance building, and $40,000 from the defined benefit pension plan, which is judged to be in good shape.

Increases were seen in the budget for road repairs, which increased $50,000, and for debt service. The town is buying two new plow trucks for the Public Works Department and a pumper for the Norfolk Volunteer Fire Department.

The Board of Finance has assigned $200,000 from the town’s positive fund balance toward this year’s costs, which will leave about $900,000 in the account.

The meeting, chaired by Town Clerk Linda Perkins and moderated by Michael Sconyers, was attended by about 25 Norfolk residents. The budget passed unanimously.

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