Town Council OKs Budget, Thwarts Taylor Library Debate

After a last-minute effort to resume discussion on the Taylor Library, the Derry Town Council passed its 2015 budget at its May 20 meeting.

The budget for 2015 will be $42,012,542 and will result in an estimated decrease in the tax rate, from $10.39 per $1,000 to $10.22 per $1,000. It represents a 15-cent drop in the tax rate. It will be $465,943 less than Acting Town Administrator Larry Budreau’s original proposed budget of $42,478,485, which was level-funded.

The budget includes full funding for the Taylor Library in East Derry at $187,189. The library’s funding had been challenged last year and in earlier sessions this year, with some residents claiming that the services were “duplicated” in the larger Derry Public Library.

Before the vote, Councilor Albert Dimmock asked if the Council could “re-address” Taylor Library. Councilor Tom Cardon, the representative for East Derry, objected and said, “I want to keep the Taylor Library funded.”

Dimmock said, “I’m not making a motion not to fund it, as you implied,” to which Cardon responded, “I did not imply that.”

Cardon’s objection could not, by charter, be debated or amended and required a two-thirds “no” vote to kill Dimmock’s request. Dimmock and Michael Fairbanks voted in the affirmative while Cardon, Phyllis Katsakiores, Joshua Bourdon, David FIscher and Chairman Mark Osborne voted against granting Dimmock’s request.

Fairbanks asked if the vote on the budget should be postponed until the Council had a chance to discuss and receive input on the proposed changes to the Veterans Tax Credit (see related story page 1).

Osborne told Fairbanks that the Veterans Credit was not part of the budget they were voting on and they would have to treat it as a “supplemental appropriation.”

Chief Financial Officer Frank Childs added that the tax rate in the new budget was an estimate. “We will not know the final tax rate until it’s approved by DRA (state Department of Revenue Administration) in the fall,” he told Fairbanks.

The Council voted on the budget and approved it 6-1, with Dimmock the dissenting vote.

The approved budget includes the following allocations for departments:

• Emergency Management, $70,968;

• Executive, $1,329,834;

• Finance, $4,401,219;

• Fire Prevention and Emergency Services, $11,079,671;

• Derry Public Library, $1,252,662;

• Taylor Library, $187,189;

• Planning, $265,706;

• Police, $8,774,183;

• Public Works, $8,994,282; and

• Town Clerk and Elections, $192,024.

Items trimmed from the budget during the month-long process included a cemetery mower, some overtime and funding for raises for contracts still in negotiation.

The Council also approved lease agreements for several pieces of equipment, 7-0, and approved the Capital Improvement Plan of $1,474,097, 7-0.

The new budget goes into effect July 1.