Residents OK operating budgets

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MEXICO – A tiny crowd of just over 30 people overwhelmingly approved the 2006-07 operating budgets for the Region 9 secondary and adult and community education programs at a districtwide vote Tuesday night.

Residents of the 16-town region approved spending $1,216,421 for the secondary vocational program, an increase of about 5 percent from the current year’s operating budget.

They also approved spending $240,998 for adult and community education programs, a 3.5 percent hike from the current year’s figure.

A third article, requesting that up to $30,000 be established as a capital reserve fund from the region’s undesignated balance was also overwhelmingly approved. The funds will be used for building renovations and repairs.

“The wide margin of acceptance for the budgets shows we’re doing the right thing and the community is satisfied with how we’re trying to conduct the school,” said Region 9 board Chairman Norman Clanton. “It would be nice to have 300 people rather than 31, but being able to move ahead without controversy is an affirmation.”

Region 9 Director David Driscoll said the $58,000 increase in the secondary budget includes about $10,000 for a part-time receptionist. For the past two years, the salary for the position was paid by the Council on Aging; however, those funds have now run out. Also, the increase is caused by higher staff salaries, insurance, and heating and fuel costs.

The $8,222 hike in adult and community education costs is the result of slightly higher staff salaries and transportation costs, as well as the assumption of the part-time salary for an adult education educational technician. Her salary had previously been paid by a grant, said Driscoll.

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