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Tax rate, town budget up for discussion at Annual Representative Town Meeting

BRATTLEBORO—Now that the ballots for the Police-Fire project are counted, it’s time to vote on the fiscal year 2017 municipal budget.

Town Meeting Members will reassemble Saturday, March 19, at 8:30 a.m., in the Brattleboro Area Middle School Multi-Purpose Room to vote on 30 articles.

Meeting Members will vote on two budgets, the municipal and town school.

The largest portion of the proposed $16.1 million municipal budget will go toward salaries and benefits for Brattleboro’s more than 130 employees.

“At this point, we’re not contemplating any specific cuts in services,” said Selectboard Chair David Gartenstein.

The budget represents level service, he said.

“Cutting costs have been at the top of the priority list for every Selectboard,” Gartenstein added. “There really isn’t any low-hanging fruit to be pruned from this budget."

The proposed tax increase is 1.82 cents per $100 of assessed value. With the addition of 1.5 cents more for additional borrowing for the Police-Fire Project, the tax increase for fiscal year 2017 will be 3.32 cents per $100 of assessed value.

Meeting Members will also be asked to vote on the fiscal year 2017 town school budget. This $15.9 million budget represents an estimated spending of $15,292 per equalized pupil which is 1.8 percent lower than spending for the current year.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #348 (Wednesday, March 16, 2016). This story appeared on page A1.

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