PERU — The Select Board and Finance Committee differ on a third of the 36  referendum questions for the proposed 2019-20 budget.

At an informational meeting on the proposed budget last Tuesday, board Chairwoman Raquel Welch said the town is looking at the possibility of a tax-rate increase. That increase would be primarily due to an 8% increase in the Regional School Unit 56 budget and 9% increases in the county budget and the Med-Care assessment.

Welch said the increases alone would raise the town’s property tax rate by $2 per $1,000 of assessed valuation.

She said the town’s share of the solid waste budget, which is about the same every year, is again unchanged.

Welch said the proposed increases prevented the town from putting $170,000 into repairing the former Peru Elementary School, with taxpayers ultimately voting to tear it down.

Instead, she said the town is asking to take $200,000 out of surplus to help offset taxes.

Welch said the municipal budget is pretty much the same as last year.

“it hasn’t increased a whole lot,” she said, “at least department-wise.”

She said the proposed $1.47 million municipal budget is “almost a carbon copy of last year.”

Gail Belyea, chairwoman of the Finance Committee, said the budget needs to be cut because taxpayers cannot afford it. Much of the budget disagreement between the Select Board and the Finance Committee is over funding of the Highway Department, the town’s largest budget.

Included in that are requests for a backhoe and a truck.

“Our equipment is getting old,” Welch said.

Article 13 asks voters to approve the purchase of a used 10-wheeler with hydraulics, not to exceed $98,000, and to raise $36,000 for the first of three payments.

Belyea said the Finance Committee wants a six-wheeler, noting the town was supposed to sell the old truck.

Article 15 asks voters to finance a new Case 590 backhoe, not to exceed $130,000, and to raise $48,000 for the first of three payments. Belyea said the Finance Committee says 5,000 hours on the present backhoe is not a lot, and the repairs made to it should not cost $30,000.

While the Finance Committee supports the proposed winter roads budget, members said they are against the proposed summer roads budget, finding issues with wages, insurance and the number of employees.

Welch said it is a lean budget.

“If it doesn’t pass,” she said. “I don’t know what we’re going to do. If we have to cut any more, it’s going to have to come out of the highway budget, and then it’s going to start affecting roads.”

Voting on the warrant is scheduled for 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, June 11, at the Town Office.

[email protected]

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.