Hoping to keep any tax increase to a minimum, Warren Town Council members have chopped millions off the town’s $22 million municipal/education and capital budgets and will hold their first public hearing on the proposed spending plan this Tuesday, April 2, at 7 p.m. The council’s recommended budget must still undergo two public hearings before being presented to the entire town at Financial Town Meeting in May. The impact on residents’ taxes is not yet known, as updated assessment figures that changed during the town’s recent revaluation have yet to be finalized and sent out to residents.
Regardless, one of the hardest hit areas this year was Warren’s Capital Budget, which includes infrastructural projects funded through bonding. Councilors rejected nearly a third of the $2.8 million worth of items requested under the capital budget, recommending a $1.99 million capital package to voters. Following are the winners, and losers, in this year’s capital budget.
The council recommends $1.09 million in capital items for the Department of Public Works, including $400,000 for work on Franklin and Main Street, $300,000 for curbs and sidewalks, $250,000 for paving and more. However, the total paving amount was reduced from $500,000 requested by the department to $250000. Other requested items, including a half ton dump truck ($60,000), and work to the exterior and roof at the transfer station ($10,000), were rejected by the council.
Though the council OK’d $25,000 for a new police/fire/EMS computer system server, they rejected a requst for $15,000 to undertake repairs and upgrades at the Warren Animal Shelter. Also, two out of three cruisers that would have been purchased with $105,000 in capital funds were rejected, leaving funding in place for one cruiser at $35,000.
The council approved $10,000 for document preservation and $5,000 for indexing, but rejected a request for $5,000 for new laptop computers for the town council, and $4,000 for a new sound system in the town council chambers.
Of all the town’s departments, the fire department fared the best. The council approved requests for interior painting at fire headquarters, a supplemental storage building at headquarters and an alarm control panel (for a total, for all three, of $64,500. One item, a telephone notification system, was rejected at $12,000.
The council recommended $235,000 in capital items for Warren’s wastewater treatment plant, but rejected $25,000 for a lighting and control retrofit, $60,000 for a new utility truck and $10,000 for a forklift.