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Canaan Taxes Likely Stable

Ballot voting on all Canaan Town Meeting warrant articles will be held March 12, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., at the Canaan Fire Station.

Canaan — Increases in insurance premiums, retirement contributions, payroll and expanded road projects are partly behind a 3 percent bump in the proposed budget for next year.

After years of holding the line on spending, there were some expenses that simply came due, said Town Administrator Mike Samson. The $3.1 million budget is about $98,000 higher than the one passed last year, which includes costs to replace town equipment, cost of living wage increases for employees and expanded road projects.

“This year’s budget is an increase over last year’s budget and there’s no way around that,” he said.

If approved, however, it would have no tax impact on Canaan residents, Samson said. The extra cost is being covered with savings built up over the past few years

Insurance increases came to $20,000 more this year and state-mandated retirement contributions were up $15,000. A 1.7 percent cost of living bump in the payroll added $18,000, and about $23,000 worth of town-owned equipment needs to be replaced, Samson said.

Highway construction is also being expanded. The budget sets aside $30,000 more for paving and an extra $22,000 to rebuild dirt roads. Samson said the town was able to cut costs in elections, fire equipment and vehicle repair, welfare and elsewhere, but not enough to make this budget level with last year’s.

Another major money article on this year’s warrant asks for $165,000 to buy a dump truck to replace one that is now 12 years old. But, as with the budget, this article would not have an impact on the town tax rate, which is currently $6.25 per $1,000 of valuation. The money for the dump truck would come from the Highway Equipment Capital Reserve Fund. Any trade-in value or proceeds from the sale of the old truck would either offset part of the purchase price of the new truck or be returned to the reserve fund.

There are a number of petitioned articles calling for town contributions to local social service agencies. The groups include the Mascoma Valley Health Initiative, which is asking for $2,932, Grafton County Senior Citizens Council ($10,000), Advance Transit ($8,530), Visiting Nurse Association & Hospice of Vermont and New Hampshire ($9,700), West Central Behavioral Health ($2,150) and Women’s Information Service, or WISE ($2,100).

If all spending were approved, including the petitioned articles, the total budget would come to $3.45 million but there still would not be a tax impact because the added expense would be covered under surplus, Samson said. No town races are contested this year.

Chris Fleisher can be reached at 603-727-3229 or cfleisher@vnews.com.