Windsor Sees Revenue Boost
Windsor — Climbing revenue numbers from police and ambulance services have allowed Windsor to begin looking to the future as budget season approaches.
The town’s projected budget for fiscal year 2014 includes more than $300,000 as part of a five-year “capital plan,” which is money put away to replace town-owned equipment and infrastructure. While the town has utilized such funding for the past two years, there has been no long-term plan in Windsor’s recent history.
“While it is not reasonable to expect Windsor to rectify decades of underfunding in a five-year plan,” the overview of the town’s capital budget reads, “it is reasonable to expect Windsor to establish basic funding levels as well as prudent policy.”
The first draft of the budget — which has a 13.7 percent revenue increase over the current year’s budget — brings with it a tax increase of about 5.9 percent, Town Manager Tom Marsh said. Taxes are projected to go up to $1.21 from $1.15 per $100 of valuation, he said. For a residence assessed at $200,000, that would mean an annual tax increase of $120, to $2,240 a year.
However, when the trimming begins — the first budget workshop is at the Selectboard meeting on Tuesday — the number will likely dip, Marsh said. He expects the final budget’s tax increase to be somewhere in the 3 percent range.
“Basically, it’s being presented as all the department heads have put it forward to me,” Marsh said of the budget.
The ability for the town to go ahead with a longer-term capital budget is largely due to expanded police and ambulance services in the town. Last July, the Windsor Police Department took over coverage for West Windsor, which comes to a projected $80,000 revenue gain for the upcoming fiscal year. And after the town modernized an aging ambulance fleet in 2012 and replaced one that went out of service following a failed inspection, revenue from those calls shot up.
The projected fiscal year 2014 budget expects a $440,000 increase in net ambulance fees, by a large factor the largest nontax revenue source the town stands to gain. Marsh said that revenue offsets the entirety of the fire department’s expenses, and it will be a very important revenue source in the future.
If that freeing-up of funds means several hundred thousand dollars can go into the capital fund every year, Windsor could stand to benefit, Marsh said. “It won’t make the whole town brand new overnight,” he said, “but it will show incremental progress over the next five or six years.”
Jon Wolper can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-727-3248.