Union set for town meeting

Monday, June 16, 7 p.m.
By Beth A. Birmingham | Jun 12, 2014
Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham Union voters will be asked Monday, June 16 to appropriate $231,000 from the undesignated fund balance for necessary repairs or replacement to the salt and sand shed at the public works garage. The meeting begins at 7 p.m.

Union — At town meeting Monday, June 16 Union voters will be asked to appropriate $231,000 from the undesignated fund balance for necessary repairs or replacement to the salt and sand shed at the public works garage.

Town meeting will take place Monday, June 16, at 7 p.m. at the town office.

Town Manager Jay Feyler has said the town is fortunate to have a large enough undesignated fund balance to cover the repairs without raising taxes.

The proposed town budget of $1,933,672 shows an increase of 3.76 percent over 2014.

The purchase of a new public works vehicle and maintenance to dirt roads are the culprits in the proposed increased tax rate, according to Feyler.

Voters will be asked to allow the town to borrow $160,000 to buy a new highway plow truck.

"The town will trade-in or sell outright the most expensive vehicle to maintain, even though it is not the oldest in the fleet," said Feyler. The ultimate goal is to get a reduced lifespan on the fleet.

One of the biggest things the board changed in the preliminary budget was adding $100,000 to the public works paving and road construction. Feyler said funds have been earmarked to rebuild some of the dirt roads

He said this may be an issue for some of the residents as 95 percent of the people do not live on dirt roads.

Union has 42 miles of roads to maintain and the uncertainty of asphalt costs makes it difficult to budget. Normally the town spends $250,000 on blacktop and $50,000 on dirt road maintenance, according to Feyler.

As for Union's portion of the Regional School Union 40 budget, it increased by 0.64 percent to $1,961,883. "That's surprisingly low," said Feyler.

Other minor budget increases include raises in areas of public works, office personnel and the Board of Selectmen.

"We haven't had a municipal tax increase in four years," said Feyler. "We are giving raises this year, so we can be comparable to the town's around us."

Feyler's base pay increased 5 percent to $59,479. The selectmen unanimously approved that earlier in the year noting his diligent management style that has saved the town more than $500,000, according to selectman Lyle Cramer.

Health insurance saw an increase of 6 percent as several employees who had been on other plans were forced to seek town insurance with the changes to health care, said Feyler.

Although the budget shows a 100 percent increase in Emergency Management it is actually increased because of reimbursement from federal government, so it will not raise taxes

Courier Publications reporter Beth A. Birmingham can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 125 or via email at bbirmingham@courierpublicationsllc.com.

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