Pelham Budget Committee Gives Selectmen a Thumbs UpNovember 15, 2013
by Lynne Ober
Pelham’s Budget Committee has completed its review of the town budget and made very few changes. In fact Selectman Doug Viger reported that the Budget Committee gave several compliments to Selectmen for their careful budget preparations and for the transparency that they and all department heads presented in the budget. There was a reduction of $42,076 to the presented budget with the end result of a town budget in the amount of $13,291,750.
Viger also said that Pelham’s Food Pantry made a request for a donation during the Budget Committee meeting. When Selectman Hal Lynde questioned why they hadn’t initially come to the Selectmen with the request, Viger reported that the food pantry had a new director who didn’t realize there was a budget line for charitable donations and so failed to meet with selectmen during budget deliberations.
Board of Selectmen Chairman Ed Gleason said that he thought it was evident that the board tried to control budget growth during their budget review given the increase from last year was a total of 3.4 percent. Gleason noted that the board tried to educate people that there is an inherent growth based on contractual obligations, which are typically between a 2 percent and 2.5 percent increase each year. He hoped tax payers recognized that the 3.4 percent budget increase that was offered included a 2.6 percent of inherent growth. “This shows there’s very little discretionary money in the budget for departments above the default budget.” Gleason agreed the proposed budget spoke well for the departments in terms of their willingness to hold the line and meet objectives.
Selectman Bill McDevitt thanked Viger for his work on the Budget Committee and noted that it was a time-consuming job.