The Durham Board of Finance presented its proposed town budget to residents over Zoom on Monday and shared two pieces of good news: a reduced mill rate and a reduction of $253,928 in total expenses.
According to Board of Finance Chairman Robert Donahue III, Durham can be labeled “a stable community” because of consistent rates in tax collection – over 98 percent; a minimal decrease in population compared to other state municipalities and a commitment by the town to improve infrastructure through funding of capital projects.
At the end of the meeting, Donahue took time to read questions submitted to the board.
One came from Carol Kleeman, who asked if there were increases in some government salaries despite the Board of Selectmen voting no to raises.
“We had met with the Board of Selectmen as well as the Compensation Review Board,” Donahue said. “We made a delineation between the different positions that the town has and we made decisions as far as what increases should and shouldn’t take place. Union contracts are not negotiable.”
Due to the pandemic, an Executive Order by Gov. Ned Lamont expressly requires municipalities to adopt budgets for Fiscal Year 2020/2021 without holding votes required by charter and without complying with any in-person budget adoption requirements.
In adopting budgets, the “budget-making authority” “shall thereby take all reasonable steps to publicize the draft municipal budget” and “receive public comment thereon, including but not limited to publishing draft budgets on the website and providing an email address or other means for the public to submit timely comments on the budget.”