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The Valley Reporter
P.O. Box 119
Waitsfield, VT 05673

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Waitsfield Select Board works on capital budget, annual budget and health insurance

The Waitsfield Select Board is working its ways through preparation of the 2011 budget, including dealing with the town's capital budget, employee wages, insurance and other details.

The board is working through a rough draft of the 2011 budget which will come in at an estimated $1,172,377, up from last year's actual spending of $1,158,624 and less than the 2010 approved budget of $1,255, 299.

Board members, at a January 10 meeting, met in executive session with Rodney Jones, road foreman, to discuss town employee wages. Last year Waitsfield town employees received no cost of living or merit increases. This year the board has not yet made any decisions on employee wages.

At its last meeting the board selected its employee medical insurance plan, opting for a Health Savings Account plan with a town contribution of $3,500 towards the deduction of  a couple/family plan and $1,700 for a single person on the plan.

The town is switching insurance carriers to stave off premium increases. In 2009, the town spent $50,847 for employee health insurance. That went up to $65,148 in 2010 and will come in at $66,317 next year. The town is no longer participating in flex spending programs for town employees. In 2010, that program cost $4,441. That funding has been rolled into the town's contribution to the Health Savings Account deductible.

The 2011 budget is lean, with increases limited to a few areas, including diesel fuel for the town garage, which was budgeted at $25,000 for 2010 ($16,205 was spent) and is projected at $30,000 for 2011. The town has replaced the furnace at the town garage and heat for the town garage is expected to be reduced from $8,000 budgeted for 2010 ($3,676 spent) to $2,000 for 2011.

Waitsfield's law enforcement program has been level funded at $23,500. Costs of that program are offset by ticket revenue. Net 2011 expenses are projected at $9,216.

Waitsfield will increase its rent payment to the Joslin Memorial Library from $24,158 in 2010 to $33,115 in 2011.

The select board is still finalizing numbers for special Capital Budget articles to be discussed and voted on at Town Meeting on March 1. Currently, the board is planning to request that $40,000 be set aside for the heavy equipment reserve truck - earmarked for a truck. Another $20,000 will go into that fund as a general reserve contribution. Last year, voters approved $55,000 towards a new truck and $15,000 for the general fund.

The Capital Budget program also calls for $18,000 for a fire department reserve fund -earmarked for a new truck with another $25,000 going to a fire department general reserve fund. Last year voters approved $15,000 and $6,000, respectively, for those funds.

This year the town has proposed that $5,000 be set aside for the town's restroom recreation/conservation fund, down from $10,000 last year. After earmarking $2,500 for the Joslin Library Repair/Reserve fund last year, the town is not proposing a contribution to that fund this year. After adding $5,000 to the town's Route 100 transportation path reserve fund last year, the board is proposing $20,000 this year.

The board will continue working on the budget at its January 24 meeting.


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