EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

August 23, 2013

Pelham proposed budget up 3.8 percent

Pelham budget

By John Toole

---- — PELHAM — A $13 million 2014 budget approved by selectmen is bound for Budget Committee review.

Selectmen’s Chairman Ed Gleason said the budget represents a 3.8 percent increase.

That’s driven primarily by employee contracts, debts and state retirements, he said.

Those obligations the town is required to meet account for about 2.6 percent of the increase, Gleason said.

That means selectmen have held the increase in other spending to 1.2 percent.

The budget, if approved as proposed, would add about 35 cents to the tax rate, he said.

The tax rate is currently $24.40 per $1,000 property valuation; a new rate will be set this fall.

Budget Committee deliberations over the town budget will take place during September and October, with the panel expected to issue a recommended budget by Oct. 10.

School officials, meanwhile, have started work on their budget.

At a meeting earlier this month, business administrator Steve Martin told the School Board preparations are behind schedule due to the recent SAU 28 split with Windham.

Martin warned the board that one area where spending looks to be up is special education, because costs already are exceeding their contingency in the current budget.

Superintendent Amanda Lecaroz told the board the school district could save special education costs by accommodating some students who are now placed out of district.

The School Board is expected to ask voters to approve a $22 million high school renovation and expansion project next spring.

The town deliberative session is tentatively slated for Feb. 4, with the school deliberative expected to be held Feb. 5.

Town Meeting would be March 11.