AVON — Town meeting voters approved a budget Saturday that includes funding for road repairs and extra dollars for Little League.

Elected to three-year terms were Jason Plog to the SAD 58 board of directors and incumbent Third Selectman John Calloway. Treasurer Maureen Haley, Road Commissioner Jerry Haines and Town Clerk and Tax Collector Mary Dunham will continue to serve for another year. Bruce Dunham will continue as constable, a post he has filled for 51 years. Veronica Plog was re-elected health officer.

This year’s annual budget appropriations were close to recommendations of the Budget Committee and selectmen. All budget requests were dispatched quickly, without disagreement or controversy.

“We projected roughly $198, 000,” said First Selectman Greta Espeiagnnette. “We cut $300 in one article and raised $150 in another, so we were on target.”

The town plans for regular road repair and maintenance, but 2013 will be the year to tackle some larger problems. Voters agreed to add $125,000 to the outstanding loan of $115,000 for road reconstruction costs. Spread over 10 years, the annual loan payment will remain the same. At an estimated 3.87 percent interest, costs over 10 years will be the principal, plus $30,235 in interest. Townspeople discussed reasons to borrow versus taking the money from the surplus account.

“We have $353,488 in undesignated funds,” Janne Haines said. “It would seem that we could take $125,000 from that to save us the interest.”

Espeaignnette said the town’s auditor did not recommend keeping the surplus account lower, because the costs to run the town each year come from that account.

The surplus funds are not simply an available pool of extra cash, Selectman Jerry Gilchrist said, especially with anticipated state revenue sources even less certain than in past years. The town pays its expenses throughout the year from money raised and appropriated at the town meeting, including anything left over from the previous year. As of Dec. 31, 2012, unpaid real estate and personal property taxes totaled nearly $84,000. Until those 2012 and 2013 taxes are paid, as well as vehicle excise taxes and other revenue sources, the municipal officials can’t risk using surplus funds.

“We don’t know what’s happening with state reimbursements this year, and we don’t have anything to fall back on,” Town Treasurer Maureen Haley said.

Resident Cindy Dixon asked voters to consider giving the Little League organization $350 instead of $200. Equipment is expensive, and they pay a lot from their own pockets, she said. Voters agreed the extra money would be well-spent.

Gilchrist said town insurance costs for 2013 would be scrutinized.

“Now that we have put the roof on the building and made some improvements, we are under-insured, he said. “At our next meeting, we’ll be meeting with our representative from Kyes Insurance to discuss these issues.”

This year’s $6,992 pays for insurance on town trucks, general liability, building, property, unemployment and workers’ compensation insurance. The town also pays for town officers’ bond insurance and public officials’ liability insurance.


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