CLARKSBURG -- The Clarksburg School District will be asked to cut $30,000 from its fiscal 2013 budget, as town officials struggle to get the Clarksburg's total budget under the Proposition 2 1/2 levy limit.
Finance Committee Chairwoman Mary Beverly said Wednesday night that the proposed fiscal 2013 budget is currently $52,000 over the levy limit.
"The bottom line is we have to follow Proposition 2 1/2," she said.
The state law prohibits towns from raising more than 2 1/2 percent of its revenues through the property tax levy in order to cover their budgets. If the town were raise revenues over its allowed tax levy, an override vote would need to be town meeting members.
While the Finance Com mittee was able to reduce the $52,000 by $37,200, it had to add on $13,500 to cover the salary of a principal assessor, an assessor's clerk and the education costs for the assessor. The assessor's position was previously filled by former Town Administrator Michael Canales.
By the end of the joint meeting of the Finance Committee and the selectmen, only $23,700 in budget cuts had been made.
Beverly said the Finance Committee doesn't have the town's certified free cash amount yet, and until the committee has that number, it's members should not panic.
"We're going to figure this out and present something rational and balanced at town meeting. Not everybody is going to like it, but they'll appreciate it," she said.
The Finance Committee has scheduled a meeting with the Selectmen for 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 11. Beverly said she expects to have the free cash number by then.
Currently, the town is looking at an approximately $1.1 million budget.
Beverly said like every other city and town, the amount the town has to pay in veterans benefits is projected to skyrocket in fiscal 2013.
Carl McKinney, chairman of the Selectmen, said $60,000 has already been budgeted for that line item, but they're concerned that it might not be enough.
"This is the cost of war," he said.
The town will receive a 75 percent reimbursement from the state in what it pays in benefit's to local veterans the following fiscal year, but the increase is going to hurt for a few years, he said.
While the Finance Committee is budgeting for a 2 percent pay raise for town employees in fiscal 2013, it objected to the Selectmen's proposal to give the tax collector a 31 percent raise to take on the additional responsibility of treasurer, and work a 30-hour week.
Beverly said she approved of the work the tax collector has done, but it's fiscally irresponsible to put another person on benefits and health insurance when the town is facing a tough budget year.
"There is now way I can sit at town meeting and advocate this move," she said.