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Moretown Select Board approves savings reserve/investment fund

Members of the Moretown Select Board voted in favor of establishing a savings reserve fund at their December 20 meeting. Planning commission chair Don LaRocca told town officials that the goal was to invest capital in two funds: an investment account and a savings account.

"The town approved the capital budget and authorized the planning commission to study the account and reserve structure that we have, set up an operation investment account, and as you build capital reserve funds, break out funds into various departments," LaRocca said.

The first step, he said, was to choose an investment institution to establish the temporary investment goals and policies and develop policies for long-term investments. LaRocca called the fund an "endowment for the town forever" where the funds invested would not "be accessible at a whim," he said.

"Every future resident has a right to this money; we can squander it and blow it or we can live on the interest," LaRocca continued.

Interest earned and dividends paid on the fund would be given back to the town, he said. If the town keeps contributing money, he said, by 2026 the town could potentially remove $200,000 to $300,000 if needed, and still maintain the value of the fund.

"We need to set up short-term goals for safe investments and not risk anything," LaRocca continued.

The necessary next steps, according to LaRocca, are for the town to agree to pursue a savings investment account, set up the structure and define the capital reserve.

"In order for the capital budget to be functional, we have to start putting money aside," he said.

The town's capital improvement plan provides a 20-year forecast of anticipated expenditures like new trucks for the town's highway department.

At the November 29 select board meeting, LaRocca said the idea of a capital improvement program is "to project out as far as you can and get the voters to understand the long-term needs."

Currently the capital improvement plan includes an expense every year for the payment on a new truck. At a meeting last October, LaRocca told town officials that other towns typically do not put the purchase of a new highway vehicle out for a public vote; rather they include a payment for the truck in the budget.

"Sooner or later buying a truck won't be so painful," he continued.

Select board member David Van Deusen made a motion that the town invest in a savings reserve investment account; all were in favor.

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