Derry’s proposed Fiscal Year 2018 budget stands at about $47 million, representing about a 5 percent increase over last year, according to officials. During the Town Council’s April 4 meeting, Town Administrator David Caron presented an overview of the proposed budget. The spending plan will still have to go through the budget process in the coming weeks and be approved by councilors before it can be finalized.
“That just gives you an idea of the moving dynamic of the budget, which you will experience during this entire process as numbers get refined, as our state aid numbers are solidified, as we get more bid numbers for example,” Caron said, adding, “You’ll see some different numbers as we work through it.”
Other highlights of the plan include a reduction of approximately three positions and increasing the veteran’s tax credit to $500, Caron said during the presentation. Derry will experience about a $442,000 increase in state retirement costs for FY 2018, Caron said. The state retirement system adjusts its rates every two years and Derry’s rates will take effect July 1 in this round, he said.
But by reducing approximately three employees in the finance area, Derry can absorb the costs, Caron said. The reductions include a controller position that will not be re-staffed, he said.
“Derry’s cost is about $442,000 in increased retirement costs so we are able to absorb that,” Caron said.
Derry has also outsourced a majority of its assessing responsibilities and no longer funds either an in-house assessor or a deputy assessor, he said.
In addition, another proposal calls for increasing the Veteran’s tax credit to $500. If approved, the item would have about a $48,000 impact on the budget, he said. The tax credit is currently set at $450.
Caron said a council committee looking at expanding the credit for vets who served during specific times of war as set forth by state statute.
Other highlights of the budget include that it fully funds the seven collective bargaining agreements that councilors approved last fall.
The plan also funds the economic development office, with a new a full-time coordinator and a continuing contract with Buxton Retail Recruitment Services and other expenses, Caron said.
The Council members voted at their March 7 meeting to appoint Anne Struthers to the position of economic development coordinator.
In addition to hiring an economic development coordinator, councilors late last year voted to hire Buxton Marketing to help recruit retailers to Derry.
To help offset the Derry’s tax rate, which is one of the highest in the state, councilors have been exploring ways to generate tax revenue and help develop the local economy.
In FY 2017 there was about $30,000 net property tax investment in economic development and this year it’s about $184,000, Caron said.
Also in the presentation, Caron said the town will have an estimated $24 million in revenues and an estimated tax rate of $8.44 per $1,000 of assessed property.