The Recorder – Warwick’s proposed $2.1M budget includes corrections, raised firefighter stipends

0 378

Published: 4/29/2022 7:32:16 PM

Modified: 4/29/2022 7:30:49 PM

WARWICK — Voters at Monday’s Annual Town Meeting will be asked to pass a $2.1 million omnibus budget for fiscal year 2023 that sets aside money to increase firefighter stipends and to correct budgeting mistakes from the current fiscal year.

The meeting will be held at the former Warwick Community School starting at 7 p.m. There are 17 warrant articles.

The proposed FY23 budget is within a 1% increase of the current year’s figures, according to a document of Finance Committee explanations prepared in advance of Town Meeting. Total from taxation is expected to be up by 3.47%, with the estimated tax rate at $20.91 per $1,000 valuation, when factoring in the town’s need to make a final payment toward the former Warwick Community School roof.

Among the largest changes, the line items pertaining to the town accountant are up by 19% to fix an error whereby a portion of the expense of the VADAR financial software was omitted in FY22; the assessors’ budget is up by 25% due to a change in software; money for grounds maintenance doubled due to increased activity; and the Fire Department budget is up 14.3% due to Fire Chief Joe Larson’s recommendation to increase firefighter stipends.

Selectboard Chair Brian Snell said the increased stipend is the “logical extension” of pay increases to most town employees last year. He added the increased pay is a reflection of both inflation and minimum wage increases.

“We increased payments across the board last year for almost all non-public safety positions,” Snell said. “We had to take a hard look at our employees who are not paid generously. … Public safety was the next piece of that.”

Snell said Larson — who is a strong chief — will distribute the funds to each volunteer’s pay. The Selectboard is supporting a stipend for Larson of $5,200 per year.

The Finance Committee states town departments presented “essentials only” budgets that postpone larger capital projects. Similarly, the town has not incurred new debt, with only the final school roof payment lingering.

In hopes of reducing the tax levy, Article 7 on the warrant asks voters to transfer $27,282 from free cash. For the same purpose, Article 8 asks about transferring $58,691 in available loan proceeds that the administrator of the housing rehabilitation loan fund returned to the town.

Reporter Chris Larabee
contributed to this story.

- Advertisement -

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.