CLARENDON — If voters approve the latest version of the budget, the town will spend more on police coverage and equipment reserve funds.
Treasurer Heidi Congdon said Wednesday spending is up 3 percent. Not counting appropriations, which are voted on as individual line items on Town Meeting Day, the amount to be raised by taxes in the coming fiscal year is $1,070,596. If voters approve every appropriation request, that would add $245,930 for a total budget of $1,316,526.
Congdon said it’s too early in the year to tell what the impact on taxes will be if this budget is approved.
Select Board Chairman Mike Klopchin said Wednesday the board has finished its budget workshops, and he hopes to have the budget approved at the next regular meeting, which according to the town website will be Jan. 14. It will then go before voters on Town Meeting Day.
Congdon said the town has been in the practice of budgeting $60,000 per year to go into funds for the replacing of town highway equipment. This proposed budget calls for increasing that appropriation to $90,000.
Klopchin said in the past the town has spent a lot of money repairing aging equipment. More money in the replacement fund should alleviate the issue during the next several years, officials hope.
Police coverage has been a debated topic in Clarendon for some time. At the last town meeting, according to Klopchin, a proposal to increase the number of hours Rutland County Sheriff’s Department deputies who patrolled Clarendon from 20 to 40 failed by less than 10 votes. The issue has been discussed at board meetings several times since. Klopchin said this year the board has placed in the general fund budget a line item for 30 hours of sheriff coverage with 10 of them being dedicated to traffic issues.
According to the minutes of the Dec. 18 budget work session, the 30 hours per week of sheriff coverage would cost $58,781.
It was suggested by resident Marjorie Southard, according to the minutes, that the board make the patrol hours a separate line item so voters would have a better sense of the cost.
In past meetings, Sheriff Steven Benard has told the board, in response to concerns raised by citizens, that deputies assigned to Clarendon spend much of their time handling non-traffic-related incidents and crimes.
Nearby Wallingford has had a similar discussion, with that Select Board opting to budget for 40 hours of sheriff coverage.