PUTNEY—Town Manager Cynthia Stoddard presented the fiscal year 2017 highway department draft budget to the Selectboard at their Dec. 16 regular meeting. The numbers show an increase of 1.4 percent over last year’s budget.
One of the line items due to increase is salaries. The budget shows a 2 percent increase in highway department workers’ salaries, but state levels show an increase of 2.75 percent, Stoddard said.
Stoddard said she and Highway Superintendent Brian Harlow had discussed adding a sixth full-time highway crew employee to cover things like taking care of the town’s lawns, but they opted to wait.
The deciding factor is the fate of the planned sidewalk near Basketville. Its maintenance will demand more labor, but until the state installs the sidewalk, Stoddard said she and Harlow do not want to bring in another full-time employee.
Should the state build the sidewalk before next winter, the town will hire temporary help and revisit the issue when drafting the fiscal year 2018 budget.
Harlow is “just going to kind of see how it goes,” Stoddard said.
Another factor in deciding the FY17 highway budget is the upcoming culvert replacement project on Hickory Ridge Road. Stoddard said she is still waiting for information from the state. Putney is expected to match state grant funding.
Stoddard told the board she will wait a few weeks before revising the budget, and she may leave the budget as is.
Should the culvert project come to pass in the next year, “we may be able to squeeze our match out of this budget,” she said.