By Sarah Berthiaume
Special to the Pioneer Times
HODGDON — A proposed $6.3 million budget got the go-ahead at Monday’s SAD 70 board meeting.
The 2013-2014 budget plan represents an overall increase of $100,000 from over last year.
“Our [state] subsidy is less than last year’s,” explained Superintendent Bob McDaniel. “So, we’re essentially asked to do the same with less money … and not impact students.”
That task is even tougher when you consider the district’s aging buildings, he added.
The budget, scheduled to be presented to voters in June, includes typical increases like salaries and technology, but it’s also impacted by law currently working its way through the state legislature. If approved, the legislation would shift some costs for employee retirement to the local level.
Also included in the upcoming budget is a $93,000 loan the district is hoping to take out to pay for a new roof on the central office building, as well as, improvements to the heating system, outdoor lighting and security systems at both schools. The loan would still need to gain approval from member towns, but the board took the first step Monday by giving it their OK. If approved, the loan would be a 5-year note at an interest rate of 2.25 percent. The district currently has no other outstanding loans and has been debt-free for over 10 years.
“We don’t take this lightly,” added Board Chair Estela Lane. “We’re presenting this after a lot of deliberation.”
The 5-year-loan would finance the following:
$65,766 for two Burner Boosters, devices that are estimated to save the district almost 30 percent in its annual fuel bill at Mill Pond School and Hodgdon High School. The device is a fuel injection oil burner that burns oil more efficiently than a standard burner.
$7,105 on outside lights. Funds would be used to replace 30 existing lights with LED light fixtures, a savings of roughly $115 per light, according to information presented by Jim Ritchie, district operations executive. Ritchie anticipated a two-year payback.
$12,336 in safety updates, including emergency exit doors, a DVR security system and added cameras in the school buildings.
$7,520 to replace the 35-year-old roof at the central office with a metal roof.
A public hearing on the budget is set for Tuesday, June 18; the district budget meeting will follow on Tuesday, June 25.