TURNER – Overall town expenses came in at $230,000 below budget for the 2021-22 fiscal year ending June 30, Town Manager Kurt Schaub said Tuesday afternoon.

Although expenses were down across the board, several accounts exceeded their allocations, mostly due to higher fuel costs. The accounts for the rescue and fire departments, public works garage, cemeteries and parks and public officers’ association exceeded their budgets by about $44,100 combined, Schaub said. About $28,000 of that was from the rescue department.

In addition to higher fuel costs, the rescue department had more calls for service and transports to hospitals, plus the cost to purchase personal protective equipment. While the increased utilization of the department is reflected in the nearly $84,000 over projected revenue this past fiscal year, each department’s revenues and expenses are locked in with the town meeting vote and cannot be used to balance the budget at the end of the year, the town manager said.

Instead, selectmen Monday approved putting the town’s $25,000 contingency fund toward the combined excess expenses. Each year, the town budget includes a contingency fund for this purpose, Schaub said.

The board also approved putting $19,100 of the town’s allocated American Rescue Plan Act funds toward the remainder of the balance. These funds will be earmarked for the rescue department because, besides fuel, much of the excess costs the department incurred were COVID-related.

In other news, Schaub said the town’s insurance will cover all but its $1,000 deductible to complete repairs to the town office building. At the end of June, a corroded pipe burst, flooding the Town Hall. The repairs include replacing sheetrock in one room, tile floors in another and filling holes and replacing molding throughout the building. Schaub said that the molding was removed in much of the building to punch holes in the sheetrock to dry it out and prevent mold.

Contractor bids for the repairs are going out this week and are due back Aug. 29. Schaub said the town hopes to have the repairs completed by the end of September so the building is “back together well in time” for elections in November.

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