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December 11, 2013

Timberlane superintendent criticizes budget committee member

Woman blames Timberlane budget for town tax hike

PLAISTOW — Timberlane Superintendent Earl Metzler has criticized a Budget Committee member for speaking out against the proposed budget.

After committee member Donna Green spoke at a Sandown selectmen’s meeting last month on the effect the budget had on the town’s tax rate, Metzler said it was too early to be commenting on the budget process.

“As we speak, it’s still a work in progress,” Metzler said. “What one budget committee member is doing is inappropriate, inaccurate and irresponsible. When you step outside of that process, you complicate work and delay progress.”

But Green said it is her responsibility to inform the public.

“I’m a representative of my constituency,” she said. “I think my constituents deserve to know what’s going on in every step of the process. I have no problem alerting my constituency of an impending problem.”

Green, a Sandown resident, spoke at the selectmen’s meeting after receiving her tax bill in the mail. Sandown’s tax rate is $27.08 this year, up $6.30 from last year.

“The school district is responsible for 81 percent of the increase in my tax bill this year,” Green said. “I wanted Sandown residents to be aware that there’s another increase coming.”

She said the proposed budget for the 2014-2015 year is $66,805,941. That does not include the School Administrative Unit budget, which is separate from the district’s budget for the first time this year. That budget is proposed at $1,113,642. The combined total of those two budgets — $67.9 million — is $2.8 million higher than last year’s budget of $65 million.

Metzler said it was out of line for Green to be criticizing a proposed budget.

“We have two additional meetings scheduled,” he said. “The Budget Committee is working diligently to get to a number that we are comfortable at. I feel we’re in a great spot, but to be jumping out in the middle of a process just to shock someone is irresponsible.”

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