Roxbury sets preliminary budget

By Pauline Liu
The Roxbury Town Board got its first look at next year’s $3,250,000 budget at a specially scheduled workshop at town hall on Monday night. The 2012 Preliminary Budget was prepared by Town Clerk Diane Pickett.

Other than some minor adjustments, most of the budget, which represents the amount of money that will be raised by taxes, remained the same after the workshop concluded. The 2012 budget is little changed from 2011.

Residents will have a chance to look over the budget themselves and voice their opinions at a public hearing scheduled at town hall at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 10. According to Pickett, anyone who wouls like to see a copy of the budget before the hearing, can pick one up at the town hall. Copies may be available to the public as early as Wednesday.

According to Pickett, this year’s budget is much like the last. She explained to the town board and the handful of residents in the audience that she took into account a number of budget increases, including rising health insurance rates for town employees; which are expected to climb by 15 percent.

The issue that the town council could not decide on was what to do about the new dump truck, sander and plow, which Highway Superintendent Steve Schuman has put on his wish list. The equipment carries a total price tag of $233,800. Town Councilman Gene Cronk asked Schuman about the condition of his trucks.

Truck problems
“There are two smaller trucks, but there’s no telling how long they’ll last,” said Schuman. “You’ve got to realize, when you buy a truck for the town, it still takes six months before you actually take delivery on it. If I agree to put it off until next year’s budget, then I’ll be waiting a year and a half and it’s going to cost more.”

Town Supervisor Tom Hynes asked how much money is in the highway equipment reserve. Deputy Town Clerk Carolynn Faraci looked up the amount and found out there was just over $100,000 in the reserve. “That would pay for one small truck,” said Schuman.

Both Hynes and Town Councilman Allen Hinckley raised the questions about two major construction projects that need to be put out to bid later this month.

Repairs needed
The first is the collapsed bridge on Shepard Lane, past the Roxbury Motel extension and the other project involves replacing part of Cold Spring Road near Stratton Falls, which was washed away by violent floodwaters.

“Most of the stream repair work has already been done,” said Hynes. Schuman and the town board agreed to put off any further discussion about the truck purchase until the November hearing. They want to see how much the two construction projects will cost. Both projects are expected to qualify for FEMA reimbursement.