Friday, February 2, 2007
Shorts from the Board of Selectmen, January 23
• Building Inspector budget. Building permits for new homes are down this fiscal year, with 11 issued since the start of the fiscal year that began last July 1. Building Inspector Bob Koning said new home permits averaged 27-29 a year over the last five years. "I don't think we'll hit that this year," he told Selectmen, explaining the drop in his department's revenues due to fewer new home permits. The building permit fee for a new home now averages $7,000 to $8,000. The number of permits for kitchen and basement renovations remains comparable to other years.
Koning said later that new home starts may have slowed down due to the excess of homes on the market in the "$1 million and up range." He pointed to high site development and engineering costs as another factor. "It's very complicated to build on a lot in this town."
Next year up to 50 new home lots may become available throughout the town, Koning said, as land becomes more valuable and existing land holdings are sold.
Revenue from permits for the proposed 41-unit Coventry Woods affordable housing development on Concord Street could amount to around $100,000. However, the town may have to hire someone to manage building inspections for the project, Koning said, because it may require daily visits to the job site once construction begins.
The building inspector's budget, $130,000 for FY08, was within the guideline given by the Finance Committee. Permit fees support the building department, while the excess collected from fees goes into the town's general fund.
• DPW budget. Department of Public Works Director Gary Davis turned in a budget within the guideline issued by the FinCom, prompting Selectman Doug Stevenson to say he appreciated the cooperation of town departments in meeting the budget. The 3.6% guideline increase, from $563,000 to $583,000, is a level-services budget, Davis said.
Davis also requested two new trucks as capital expenses: $52,000 for a one-ton dump truck to replace a 1994 Chevrolet, and $110,000 for a new sand and dump truck to replace a 1985 model.
• Treasurer's budget. Town Finance Director Larry Barton asked for $12,000 to hire an actuary to determine future health insurance costs for town employees, after their retirement. The actuarial work is prompted by changes in national accounting standards designed to protect employee benefits in retirement.
Barton also presented a capital request for up to $41,000 for the purchase of MUNIS, an automated human resource and payroll system. Data for town employee personnel records is currently entered manually, including payroll and insurance information. The new system would automate the process and interface with the MUNIS general accounting system already in place at Town Hall.
© 2007 The