WATERBURY — The Select Board adopted a $5 million municipal operating budget to bring to voters on Town Meeting Day for the 2019-20 fiscal year.
The proposed budget is up $43,815 over last year’s sum of $5,073,785. Board members unanimously approved the budget Jan. 28.
Within the total, $2,814,670 pays for operating expenses such as general government, public safety, fire, solid waste management and recreation; $1,631,915 covers expected highway costs and $487,515 funds library expenses.
Dan Desanto, chairman of the Waterbury Library Commission, reported higher library patronage, according to minutes from the Jan. 21 meeting. The increase in attendance is causing a need for more staff time at the circulation desk. Library Director Almy Landauer had said “a good public library is an economic driver for the town.”
“The library helps people who are looking for jobs through the use of the public computers,” minutes state. This year’s library budget is $11,125 more than last year’s $476,390 spending plan.
However, former Waterbury Village Trustees President Everett Coffey voiced concerns. Coffey said he did not believe figures showing an increase in library attendance, nor did he agree with adding money for more library staff time.
“I don’t use the library much,” he said.
“I’m not opposed to it. I don’t think we need to add another librarian for 20 hours a week,” Coffey said, questioning the necessity of an economic development director.
“The other thing that concerns me is how little or how much effect does the economic development director have on the future Waterbury and attracting new businesses and so on,” Coffey said.
Municipal Manager William Shepeluk verified the method for counting library patronage and touted the need for an economic development director, especially with the coming Main Street construction project.
Shepeluk said Director Alyssa Johnson will also spend time helping the public and businesses during construction. The town has budgeted $52,200 to pay her. The town will be reimbursed by the Vermont Agency of Transportation for time she spends on work pertaining to construction, Shepeluk said.
In other matters, Shepeluk explained more line-item details and informed the board that sometime between 2019 and 2021, two fire pump trucks would need to be replaced. Options for financing was discussed, but the board postponed action, minutes state.
Also, community planner Steve Lotspeich had previously reported a $10,800 increase for a Historic District Survey, but he reported most line items are either level funded or reduced, except for travel and office equipment. Overall, the planning budget is $10,040 higher than last year, minutes state.
Lotspeich reviewed projects such as the Waterbury Reservoir Greeter Program and a Caring for Canopy grant pertaining to the emerald ash borer issue.
Waterbury’s annual town meeting is scheduled to be held Tuesday, March 5, at the Thatcher Brook Primary School gym on 47 Stowe St. Polling hours are from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.