China town manager presents initial budget draft

by Mary Grow

China town manager Rebecca Hapgood. (photo by Eric W. Austin)

China Town Manager Rebecca Hapgood gave select board and budget committee members her initial draft of the 2022-23 town budget at a special joint meeting Jan. 24.

Select Board Chairman Ronald Breton said there would be no question and answer session at the special meeting. Members of both boards were given time to read and consider the lengthy compilation of information before discussion begins at the Jan. 31 select board meeting.

After select board members make their recommendations, the budget committee will schedule its meetings, probably in March.

The important deadlines, Hapgood said, are April 11, when select board members need to sign the final warrant for the annual town business meeting, and June 14, the date of the meeting.

As of now, the meeting is planned as a written-ballot vote, not an open meeting.

Hapgood said she has two main goals as she considers next year’s budget: avoiding a local tax increase, and “showing loyalty to town employees,” especially those who have served China for years. She proposes a six percent pay increase for town employees.

Her documents included detailed information on past, current and proposed expenditures and revenues, explanations of changes she recommends for next year and miscellaneous information, like the number of employees (16) and their years of service (ranging from almost one year to almost 28 years).

In her initial presentation, she told committee members such things as the number of miles of town-owned road (46.48 miles), the number of cemeteries in town (31) and China’s population according to the 2020 census (4,408 people).

Select board members intend to devote part of their Jan. 31 meeting to budget discussion. The meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m., in the town office meeting room.

 
 

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