HARTFORD — Auditor Ron Smith of RHR Smith Company commended selectmen and the town clerk Thursday night for the excellent condition of the town’s financial records for fiscal year 2008-2009.

Looking ahead, he advised them to keep enough money in the general fund to pay operating expenses for 60 to 90 days and for emergencies. He said it would save having to loan money until property taxes are paid.

Smith also told officials the state will be cutting revenue sharing payments to small towns. He said small towns are anticipating revenues to be down by 8 to 10 percent in the next fiscal year. He predicted it will be two or three years before the economy stabilizes.

When asked where he thought the town could save money, Smith replied, “There is not a lot of fat in the Hartford budget.”

“We have been bare-boning it for quite some time,” Selectman Lee Holman replied.

Holman brought up the need for high-speed Internet service in small rural towns. She said she has heard from many residents who could work at home if they had high-speed service.

Selectman Jack Plumley said the proposed nine year snowplowing contract was intended to reduce costs and improve service by permitting the successful bidder to invest in new equipment.
Town Clerk Lianne Bedard said bid packages will be available soon at the Town Office, and bids are due April 29 with a price for each of the next nine years.
Selectmen appointed Ozzie Hart as animal control officer and Bob Berry for a maintenance position.

It was mentioned that the General Assistance account is overdrawn by $99. State law requires towns to meet all eligible requests regardless of the budget, and Holman pointed out that there are strict guidelines for reviewing requests.

For many months a veterinarian has been seeking about $500 for treating a dog that had gotten loose and tangled with a porcupine. The owner picked up the dog, but didn’t pay the bill. The town will pay the bill, selectmen decided, then go to court to collect the money, unless the owner arranges to reimburse the town.

The annual town elections are coming in June and nomination papers for selectman and town clerk are available at the town office.