PERU — Townspeople voted 6-16 Tuesday night against taking $32,000 from surplus to cover an overdraft in the municipal budget largely caused by the high level of winter road maintenance.

Peru has about 1,200 registered voters.

The road commissioner’s portion of the 2017-18 winter budget, $132,000, set to cover 22 weeks of the year, ended with a $27,000 deficit because of the number of winter storms and the amount of salt, sand and labor needed to keep the roads clear, Town Clerk Vera Parent said.

“You can try to plan but you can’t predict the number of storms you’re going to have,” Parent said.

This is not the first time the municipal budget has gone over, she said. For the past five or six years, there has been a deficit.

Town officials this year budgeted more money for winter storms. The proposed roads budget for the 2018-19 winter season is $171,322, an increase of more than $39,000 over this past winter. But Parent said that amount also covers benefits for employees, where in past years, benefit costs came from a separate account.

Taking away the benefits, the roads budget proposes an additional $10,000-$15,000 to cover winter maintenance, Parent said.

Selectmen at their next meeting will discuss how to proceed in dealing with the deficit.

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