Chatham Town Manager Proposes $30.5 million Operating Budget

CHATHAM – Selectmen in Chatham were presented with some good news last week regarding the Fiscal Year 2019 budget.

A proposed operating budget of nearly $30.5 million was presented to the board, which is an increase of just over a half percent from the current fiscal year.

The proposed operating budget did not include the school assessment.

Town Manager Jill Goldsmith said that not much had changed since a Budget Summit was held in October.

“Our property values remain high. Our tax rate remains low because of our high property values,” Goldsmith said. “And our bond rating was affirmed in September of 2016 as AAA.”

Goldsmith said the capital budget proposal is just over $2 million.

“It’s no use of the tax levy so the funding of this plan is proposed of free cash and other available funds,” she said.

Larger capital budget items include a new six-wheeler truck, road resurfacing work, airport taxiways and dredging.

The proposal did not include any new positions at the request of Selectmen in October. Salaries are increasing 2.77 percent in the proposal.

“We didn’t look to add any more staffing,” Goldsmith said. “There’s some refinements to part-time staffing and the rates that we are paying to part-time and seasonal employees just because of the market being so competitive and looking at what our comparable towns are doing.”

The cost of retirement programs and pensions were up 10 percent, or more than $193,000 for next fiscal year.

The budget line item for insurance actually fell from the current fiscal year as employee health premium contributions were increased by 5 percent.

Goldsmith said there might be some changes over the next 5 weeks after a review by selectmen and the finance committee prior to Town Meeting in May.

The proposed budget and any changes to be made can be monitored by visiting the “budget central” section of the town’s website.

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