DIXFIELD — The Board of Selectmen and Finance Committee held a joint meeting Monday evening at the Ludden Memorial Library to hear the Police Department’s budget proposal for 2014-15.

Before the budget presentation, Chief Richard Pickett said that due to his impending retirement on Jan. 1, 2015, he is “preparing my lieutenant to take over.”

He said Lt. Jeff Howe was “working on his 15th year right now as a member of the department, 16 if you add in his time as a reserve officer.

“Three years ago, I started bringing him into the budget meetings with me to help me present it,” Pickett said. “The difference is, this year, he’ll be presenting the department’s operational budget, while I sit and watch.”

Pickett said the budget presentation would only include the department’s operational budget because the salary and benefits proposal was still under union negotiations.

The proposed operational budget for 2014-15 will be $5,225, according to Howe, citing an increase in fuel and ammo costs, as well as an increase in police cruiser maintenance.


Howe said the department has budgeted $1,700 for tires and if the cruisers “don’t have any major issues,” they’ll be able to “squeeze by with that.”

“We also budgeted $400 for any miscellaneous items with cruiser maintenance,” Howe said. “That’s just in case we have a damaged tire, or some decal that needs to be replaced. It’s for the little things that could go wrong with a vehicle. We use them a lot, so we like to have that money there as a cushion.”

Howe said that he proposes $2,000 for duty and training ammo, because it’s “the thing that costs us the most in the operational supplies category from year to year.

“For $2,000, we can have a good ammo stock,” he said. “I expect that $2,000 will leave us right on the edge, but hopefully, we’ll have a little left over heading into next year.”

Howe said the operational supplies category also includes a $400 miscellaneous section.

“I’m anticipating that we may need more ammo,” Howe said. “Ammo is expensive and it has been for a few years. You never know when you’re going to see the prices jumping. Having a cushion there will be helpful.”


One of the biggest increases in the Police Department’s budget, Howe said, was in the fuel budget.

“We’ve been trying to work with the $17,500 fuel budget for a couple of years, and frankly, we can’t cover that line anymore, what with the increase of fuel costs,” he said. “If we’re going to try and get out there more often and get our presence known, we’re going to need more than that. We’ve been trying really hard the last two years to keep the number the same. We’ve done everything we can, including getting into cold, frosted cruisers to avoid idling them for too long.”

Selectman Hart Daley asked Howe if the Police Department had a sheet that shows how many miles each cruiser accumulates, and how many miles per gallon each cruiser used.

Howe said he has the information in his office and will provide it for selectmen.

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