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Nahant presents preliminary budget

NAHANT – There should not be any layoffs or service cuts in the upcoming fiscal year, which starts on July 1.Nahant Town Administrator Mark Cullinan said based on the information he has available he has prepared a preliminary budget for FY’12, which is balanced.?A lot of numbers have not come in yet,” he said. “I had to make a lot of assumptions but it is balanced at this point.”Cullinan told the selectmen at their meeting Thursday evening the $10 million general fund budget assumes a 10-percent decrease in state aid and a 2.5-percent increase in property taxes.?There is a two percent increase overall in appropriations,” Cullinan said.Cullinan said he budgeted a 3-percent increase in salary for most town employees.?I am currently negotiating (contracts) with the fire, police and public works,” he said.Cullinan said his revenue projections were conservative but he cautioned it is still very early in the budget season and the figures are preliminary.The annual Town Meeting warrant was also a topic of discussion.Cullinan told the selectmen he recommends placing an article on the Town Meeting warrant for a ladder truck. He explained the current ladder is from 1978.We just had it inspected,” he said. “There are a number of issues that need to be addressed with it.”Cullinan said a new ladder truck would cost between $700,000 and $800,000. He explained Chief Edward Hyde applied for a federal grant that would pay up to 80 percent of the cost of the new apparatus.?We’re still in the running,” Cullinan said. “If we get the grant I want the article in place (on the warrant) so we can act on it.”An article was also placed on the warrant to replace the water meters in town. Cullinan explained the water meters in town are 20 years old and are showing their age. He said the aging meters are difficult to read, are breaking down and may not capture water flow accurately.?I feel strongly we need to replace the water meters,” he said.Cullinan said replacing all 1,800 water meters in town would cost approximately $600,000, which includes the installation expenses.Selectman Michael Manning suggested adding a warrant article that explains the solid waste removal fee and asks Town Meeting to ratify it. Currently the annual household base fee is $160 and the town charges an additional $62 annually for each person in the household. This year unlike previous years, the town did not allow residents to opt out of the trash collection program.Selectman Lainey Titus agreed it would be helpful to have the trash fee explained at Town Meeting and to allow residents to have some input.In other business, Selectman Richard Lombard displayed a Selectmen Coyote Survival Bucket that had been sent to Town Hall. He laughed as he displayed its contents ? whistles, rubber balls and a toy dart gun.

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