2007-05-16 / About Town

Town budget available to voters June 4 is Financial Town Meeting

Town officials have made copies available of budgets that voters will be asked to approve at the annual financial town meeting for fiscal 2007-2008. The proposed spending packages appear in their entirety in a special pull-out-andsave section of this edition of the Jamestown Press.

This year's annual fiscal meeting will take place June 4, at 7 p.m. in the Lawn Avenue School gymnasium.

The combined town government and school budgets represent a gross total request of $19,846,185 for the annual budget that starts July 1, 2007 and runs through June 30, 2008. The current fiscal year budget is $18,987,026.

The budget package provides $8,137,569 for general government and $11,698,716 for school spending. The two packages include capital spending and debt (bond). The current totals are $7,765,168, town; and $11,221,858, education.

Local taxes will pay a net combined budget of $17,172,518 for next year. The exact tax rate was being prepared for announcement before the town meeting. The rate is being tallied to reflect assess- ment adjustments that are being made. The current tax rate is $9.49 per thousand dollars of property value.

The Town Charter specifies that copies of the combined budget be available at least two weeks before being presented to voters at the financial meeting on the first Monday in June of each year. Before 2004, the annual meeting had been conducted the first Monday in March of each year, but was changed to bring Jamestown's spending calendar in line with federal, state and most other local schedules.

Other resolutions

Voters at the financial meeting next month will not be asked to approve any special spending resolutions. Capital spending sometimes covered by resolutions is incorporated in the annual budget. The most significant item is $3 million as the town share for a multi-agency purchase of development rights on 160 acres for the special farmland preservation project.

No petitions by voters had been filed by mid-month to change any budget line item by $10,000 or more, as governed by the Town Charter, but voters have up to ten days before the meeting to call for any change.

No special resolutions are prepared for the meeting. Voters will be asked to approve four warrant items. They are the standard, or socalled housekeeping resolutions:

+ Set the tax rate, based on the actions of the financial town meeting.

+ Set the sewer line frontage rate at 68 cents per linear foot, the current rate for several years.

+ Authorize borrowing up to $1 million in anticipation of tax collections.

+ Provide that all back taxes collected be placed in the general fund for payment of current expenses.

Meeting format

The number of voters taking part in the budget vote has been decreasing over the years, to less than one percent of the total of about 4,500 voters. Last year, 150 residents voted; the previous year, 265 voted.

The traditional agenda for the finance meeting, chaired by Town Moderator James Donnelly, is that budget presentations are made by town and school officials.

The last two annual meetings took about 30 minutes for business after 20 minutes for voter registration, with many participants lingering 20 to 30 minutes for postmeeting visiting.

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