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Thetford to Hold Special Meeting

Police Union Contract Funding Up for Vote

Thetford — The Thetford Police Department needs $35,000 added to its budget before it can fund new expenses outlined in the police employee union contract that the Selectboard ratified May 13.

Voters will decide whether to allocate those funds and establish two unrelated capital funds during a special Town Meeting at 6 p.m. Monday at Thetford Elementary School.

At the annual Town Meeting in March, voters approved the budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year, which allocated $226,005 to the police department and animal control. But once the Selectboard ratified the police union contract in May, the previous budget couldn’t cover the pay increases and small equipment purchases outlined in the contract. The financial allotment is significant enough that the Selectboard scheduled a special Town Meeting for voters to approve the revised budget.

The police contract will go into effect only if voters approve the additional funds, according to Selectboard meeting minutes from last month.

Voters also will have the opportunity to approve the formation of two new capital funds, a highway paving capital fund and a recreation infrastructure capital fund.

In the budget approved in March, the Selectboard appropriated $100,000 from the Highway Fund to paving projects, Selectboard member Tig Tillinghast said. However, the Selectboard forgot to place the sum in its own permanent capital fund, which Tillinghast said was “just an oversight.”

The vote to transfer the $100,000 from the highway fund to the highway paving capital fund is essentially a formality, one that would allow the monies to roll over year after year.

The special Town Meeting has a third agenda item — transferring the leftover balance of the existing recreation fields capital fund into a proposed new recreation infrastructure capital fund.

“We had a fields fund put aside a while ago with the thought that there was going to have to be a lot of field maintenance over time,” Tillinghast said. But there wasn’t as much field maintenance as expected, so the Selectboard will propose a transfer of the field fund’s remaining balance to a new recreation infrastructure fund. Tillinghast said the Selectboard has plans for the money, such as transforming one of the tennis courts at Treasure Island into a basketball court.

Establishing the two new funds doesn’t necessarily require a town vote, but Tillinghast said the board likes to keep residents tuned into its decision-making process.

“We tend to like to give the voters a voice in all these things,” he said.

Katie Mettler can be reached at 603-727-3234 or kmettler@vnews.com.