Montpelier manager envisions 2 cent rate hike
MONTPELIER — City Manager Bill Fraser will tell municipal employees today that the city’s workforce is expected to decline by the equivalent of about four full-time positions but that no one will lose their job.
Fraser is proposing a nearly $18.7 million budget for the new fiscal year that includes a 2-cent property tax rate increase. A budget letter and draft report were expected to be available today, and Fraser is to present the budget at Wednesday’s City Council meeting, which starts at 6:30 p.m.
“In the broad sense, I think the manager has given us a budget that we asked for,” Mayor John Hollar said Monday.
The budget deliberations this week come during a period when councilors will vet all the materials before holding two public hearings in January.
The staffing reductions will affect the police, fire, planning and public works departments. Fraser said the reductions — the equivalent of 4.22 full-time positions — will come through retirements and resignations, creating what he called a detectable but “not debilitating” change in the city workforce.
Net reductions will come from four full-time positions and two part-time positions. However, as part of the workforce restructuring, two new part-time jobs will be added and one existing part-time position will have its weekly hours increased.
The reductions come as the city deals with rising personnel costs and a capital infrastructure plan to deal with costly road repairs and other projects.
The 2-cent rate increase in the new budget covers $166,000 for the city’s capital infrastructure plan. The city hopes to add four more $166,000 installments to eventually raise about $800,000 each year to pay for capital infrastructure needs.
The budget proposal also includes two 20-year bonds.
One $710,000 bond would cover sidewalks, storm drains and retaining walls.
The other bond, about $670,000, would cover the cost of replacing a sewer line that runs along River Street and serves Montpelier and Berlin.
The proposed budget, not including the new district heating plan, reflects an increase of about 2.05 percent, which is below a 2.2 percent cost-of-living adjustment threshold Fraser was directed to meet.
Along with the district heating plan, a nearly $400,000 expense that will be paid for through customer fees, the overall budget increase is about 4.2 percent.
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