HARRISON — Say “slide show” and watch people’s eyes glaze over.

Town Manager Bud Finch hopes that won’t happen when he shows off the PowerPoint budget presentation he’s been working on for weeks.

At the very least, he’s hoping taxpayers will leave this year’s town meeting in June with a clue about how much money the town takes in, what it’s spent on, and why the town has to charge what it does for taxes.

And, if selectmen go along with his proposal, taxes won’t go up — which is all some taxpayers care about.

Referring to the $5.9 million budget, Finch’s presentation leads the taxpayers into a Budget 101 primer with the question, “What do we really have control over?”

And that’s the portion he wants taxpayers to concentrate on.

The math is pretty simple. Take away what the town expects to owe for schools, $3.2 million for SAD 17 — that leaves $2.7 million.

Take away what the town expects to pay in county taxes — that leaves $2.4 million.

“As unfortunate as it sounds, we really only have control over the municipal operations portion of the budget,” Finch told selectmen last week.

“This $2.4 million, 40 percent of the budget, is what we have gone over and over and will continue to go over each and every year by the employees, the Budget Committee, the selectmen and the town meeting.”

That $2.4 million in spending will look a bit different when it’s divided up this year, compared to how it was done in previous years. This is Finch’s first crack at a budget for Harrison, having taken over last November after the resignation of Brad Plante.

In his report to selectmen, Finch wrote, “The budget has been reconfigured to more accurately present department costs in an operational, capital equipment and infrastructural format.”

Under the category of administration, for example, the numbers are significantly less. That’s not because less will be spent for the salaries of town office workers, but portions of the overhead will be more appropriately divided into other departments.

Proposed expenditures, from most to least expensive, include: Public Works, $601,000, or 10.2 percent of the budget; Administration, $444,000, 7.5 percent; Solid Waste, $402,000, 6.8 percent; Capital and Reserve, $259,000, 4.2 percent; Public Safety, $180,000, 3 percent; Parks and Recreation, $152,000, 2.6 percent; Capital Investment, $95,000, 1.6 percent; Fire Department, $92,000, 1.5 percent; Community Services, $75,000, 1.3 percent; Insurance, $41,000, 0.7 percent; Third Party, $19,000, 0.3 percent.

Probably the best part of the budget presentation selectmen received last week is that taxes won’t go up this year — that is, if they decide to endorse it.

Finch explained to the five-member board that he has rearranged some of the accounts to more accurately reflect how money is being spent.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.