Saturday March 2, 2013

ROCKINGHAM -- Town voters will be asked at the town hall auditorium Monday to approve a seven-figure budget for general expenses of Rockingham.

Approval of Article 5 of the 2013 Town Warrant would raise and appropriate $5,023,556 to pay the indebtedness of the town, repair and maintain highways and cover other costs from July 1, 2013, through June 30, 2014, with $3,727,305 to be raised by taxes.

Voters have been warned to meet at the auditorium at 7 p.m. All town and school district officers will be elected via floor vote on Tuesday, as part of Article 1.

Rockingham Selectboard Chairman Tom MacPhee said a 5 cent increase on the tax rate resulting from a bond to renovate the library will be offset by the elimination of town paving.

"I think it's the best we would have been able to come up with," MacPhee told the Reformer, admitting that he would have liked to see it lower. "We worked the figures multiple times. Let's see what the taxpayers say."

If voters adopt Article 6 that means they approve of adding 2 cents to the tax rate for funding toward the reported deficit in Fiscal Year 2012. The deficit comes as a result of Tropical Storm Irene, which struck in August 2011.

The Rockingham Free Public Library would be appropriated $364,270 -- with $320,806 to be raised by taxes -- if Article 7 is adopted.

Article 9 looks to raise and appropriate $67,228 to be allocated to nine social service agencies. According to the town warrant, the largest figures would be dispensed to the Visiting Nurse Alliance of Vermont and New Hampshire ($26,024) and the Bellows Falls Senior Center ($21,384). Meeting Water YMCA would receive $5,000.

By adopting Article 8, a sum of $15,000 would be raised and appropriated for the Southern Vermont Economic Development Strategy (SeVEDS).

Adoption of Article 3 would authorize the Selectboard and town treasurer to borrow money "from time to time" in anticipation of tax collection, or payment of money due to the town from the state level for highway maintenance or other purposes or payment to the town from federal funds.

Article 4 asks voters will they will authorize the Selectboard to seek out and/or accept funds available from "non-property tax revenue sources and to spend those funds in appropriate ways after required public input."

Voters of the Rockingham Town School District will decide on Monday in the auditorium whether they wish to authorize the school board of directors to expend $155,059.76 from the Fiscal Year 2012 fund balance to offset unbudgeted expenditures in FY2013, the current fiscal year.

The matter of whether or not to appropriate $10,432,126 to operate and maintain its public schools for the period of July 1, 2013, to June 30, 2014, will be decided by Australian ballot on Tuesday.

Domenic Poli can be reached at dpoli@reformer.com, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoli_reformer.