Village voters to get a second crack at budget on June 24

BELLOWS FALLS — Voters will get another opportunity to weigh in on the village budget at a special Village Meeting set for Monday, June 24, at 7 p.m., at the BF Opera House.

The Village Trustees set the date late last month in an effort to get a budget in place before the start of the 2014 fiscal year on July 1.

Village Meeting voters on May 20 rejected a proposed budget of $1,945,357.

Of that amount, $1,139,057 was earmarked for the Bellows Falls Police Department - a figure that many voters took exception to.

Opponents of the budget claim that Bellows Falls is the highest-taxed municipality in Vermont, and that cash-strapped voters can't afford to spend that much money on police services.

On June 4, the Village Trustees reviewed two budget options to present to voters. Both options would forego filling a vacant position for a ninth police officer - something the department has gone without since 2009 - and cutting in half the amount of money to be raised by taxes to repair the roof on the fire station.

Option 1 would also include an additional $800 in cuts, while Option 2 would eliminate one firefighting position from the fire department.

Trustees voted unanimously to present both budgets at the Village Meeting, but they would back Option 1.

The Option 1 budget would total $1,777,982.

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