October 17, 2008
Selectmen consider $2M in cuts 


GOFFSTOWN - Selectmen last night said they planned as much as $2 million in cuts from $21.9 million in proposed spending for 2009, saying that dire economic conditions were forcing them to take dramatic measures to ensure residents do not pay more in taxes next year.

“The elephant in the room is that I don’t really see how you can maintain the tax rate and, or reduce tax rate, without cutting services and, or deferring your road program or huge capital expenditures,” said selectman Scott Gross. “I think that we’re possibly going to have to go in that direction. I don’t want to go in that direction but I just think that.”

Proposed appropriations for 2009 is $21,764,986, an increase of more than $2 million over gross appropriations of $19,383,596 for 2008. But the proposed amount is actually less than what was proposed last year: $21,888,956.

In a three-hour budget meeting, selectmen came halfway toward their goal of a leaner, economically appropriate budget, cutting several proposed one-time capital expenses for vehicles, building renovations, and land purchases. In all, $1,281,800 million was sawed off the budget, but selectmen said they would revisit the reduction before taking a final vote later this fall.

“It’s not just Goffstown,” said selectman John Caprio. “Everybody’s dealing with it and you have to deal with the reality. People’s equities in their homes is reduced. People’s retirement savings are down at least 30 to 50 percent … and I think people are scared.”

The 2008 tax rate for the town is $8.37. But since the town revaluation has raised the assessed values of about a quarter of all homeowners, keeping the tax rate the same would mean they actually would have to pay more, according to Nick Campasano, chairman of the board of selectmen.

Campasano said the board might have to cut the rate to ensure tax payments do not increase for homeowners.

Selectmen removed $500,000 for the purchase of land for a new fire station and $600,000 for land for the expansion of the town library. They also swapped out a $250,000 loader for a far cheaper $125,000 dozer for the Public Works Department, saving $125,000. Selectmen also directed the public works and fire departments to seek lower prices for two vehicles, saving about $25,000. In addition, about $32,000 was chopped from the renovation of the town hall.


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