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Selectmen recommending $15.7 million budget


November 19, 2020
The town is getting ready for the 2021 budget process with a proposed budget figure and a new approach to recommending the regional agency articles.

The selectmen's recommended operating budget for 2021 is $15,702,861.Town Administrator Scott Dunn said during the Nov. 4 meeting they got some new information that changed the bottom line, including wage adjustments. The board approved the recommendations and the budget will go to the Budget Committee.

The board also unanimously approved the first draft of the warrant articles. This warrant will go on to the Budget Committee and be used to discuss capital improvements.

For the first time in a number of years, the board voted in favor of recommending the petitioned articles for regional agency funding. Over the past several years, the board has voted unanimously in favor of not recommending these articles. Board members have said this was intended to let taxpayers make their own decisions about contributing to organizations as there is no provision for the selectmen to take no action to recommend. This approach has received criticism from people who say this looks like the selectmen oppose the articles and this could deter voters from approving these articles.

This year, the selectmen voted 2-1 in favor of recommending the regional agency articles.

During a discussion later in the meeting on the article for Lakes Region Mental Health Care, Development Director Ann Nichols thanked the board for making this change. She said she understood the board's perspective though as a Gilford voter she felt this did the voters a disservice.

"I appreciate the fact that you've changed that practice because as a voter we do rely on our elected officials to guide us," Nichols said.

Town Administrator Scott Dunn also reported that the town tax rate is still a long way from being approved by the state. Dunn said employees from the Department of Revenue Administration are working from home and it's likely setting the tax rate won't be a smooth process.

"There's a number of things they're looking for that we provided them months ago that they haven't checked off their list, so I'm a little nervous that we're not going to have a tax rate by Dec. 1, which is goal so they can be due and payable before the end of the year," Dunn said.

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