INDUSTRY — First Selectman Lee Ireland was re-elected Saturday with 22 votes, and voters approved all 34 articles in just over 40 minutes, most with no discussion.
The 2017 budget of $407,638 was approved. It is $4,061 less than the 2016 budget.
The article drawing the most discussion was raising and appropriating $30,000 for paving.
One resident asked about plans for the Savage Road.
“Are we using pennies instead of dollars?” he asked. “Is it time to put more money into paving?”
Road Commissioner Joe Paradis said he was planning a shim coat to get by for a couple more years, but eventually it would need rebuilding.
Ireland said the board tries to maintain a consistent mill rate every year. Municipal appropriations are flat balanced. County taxes always increase and Regional School Unit 9 always has a large increase.
“We’re at their mercy,” Ireland said.
Second Selectman Rob Geisser said the town could easily drop $2 million on roads. It’s only going to get worse, he said.
Paradis suggested forming a committee this summer.
A voter noted the odd number requested for the care and maintenance of winter roads. Voters were asked to raise and appropriate $50,415 this year.
Ireland said that several years ago, selectmen started asking for the amount spent the previous year. Each winter is different, he said, so it’s hard to know what will be spent. Any remaining funds are carried forward to start the account at $75,000, he said.
A question was also asked about appropriating $22,000 from the Undesignated Fund Balance to purchase a 2005 Case loader backhoe.
Ireland said the town had sold its backhoe for $10,750 with the money going into surplus. That amount plus a bit more would be used for the purchase.
“We have a healthy undesignated fund balance of about $380,000,” Ireland said.
“It’s a good buy,” Paradis said.
Before the meeting adjourned, Robert Patterson, Industry’s RSU 9 school board director, encouraged everyone to study the materials regarding the proposed school budget.
“Dr. Ward is again looking at a 2 percent increase,” Patterson said. “It can be trimmed. Come and vote it down again and again. For the lack of 16 votes, we could have knocked about another half percent out of this budget.”
Concerning the town reports, Patterson said he couldn’t balance the books. His figures showed income of $1,396,000 and expenses of $817, which didn’t make sense, he said.
Ireland said RHR Smith & Co. audits the town’s books annually. The finished audit is 40 pages long, and it’s very expensive to reprint in the town report, he said.
“Expenses won’t equal income,” Ireland said. “Hopefully, they will always be less. That is how we grow our surplus.”
Once finished, copies of the audit will be available for anyone wishing to review it, he said.