LUDLOW, Vt. – The Ludlow Selectboard met for a special budget discussion on Dec. 19. This meeting was a continuation of the budget discussions from the previous meeting on Dec. 5.
The meeting opened with the board moving to approve Eric Alden as the town’s new health officer. Eric then spoke briefly on his experience in management, zoning, construction inspections for health violations, and a number of other things.
The board then went on to the budget discussion. Municipal Manager Scott Murphy stated before going through the budgets that he was worried about some of the cost estimates due to the current inflation rate and the unpredictability of the coming year.
While going over the ambulance budget, it was discussed how the ambulance is not part of the general fund of the town, but is a proprietary fund, and does not directly affect the town budget. However, every year the voters are given an article to fund the ambulance roughly $300,000, which the voters always choose to do. Board member Justin Hyjek brought up the dangers of this, and if the voters voted no. It was suggested that the board gives the voters the choice to put the ambulance into the general fund permanently, rather than voting on the same article for funding every year. No motion on this was made.
While looking over the recreation budget for the town, the question of the fourth of July fireworks location came up. There was talk about doing it at either West HIll or Okemo. The board spoke of the pros and cons of each, but decided they would need more voter input. The board only decided that they did not want to wait as long as last year to secure the plans. No motions were made.
The ARPA funds provided during Covid were brought up as well. Schmitd explained how these funds should be used for special improvements that could not be done with the normal operating budget of the town. He also mentioned the need for voters’ input on how the town should use these funds. The board agreed some form of a town hall forum should be held on this topic, but a specific time was not chosen.
The budget discussions ended with a 4.9% increase from the previous year’s budget. The board felt there was little that could be done to reduce this due to inflation and rising wages over the past years. Murphy still had a few small items to look over at the request of the board, it was unclear if this would have much effect on the budget.
The board discussed the community center’s use as a warming station after the storm this weekend took out many people’s power. The board was glad that it was opened, but believed it should have and could have been done sooner. Murphy was asked to review the towns’ emergency plans and get back to the board on what can be done differently and how the town can be more prepared. Schmitd gave his personal apology to the citizens and town for not having something available sooner.
The meeting adjourned at 7:26 p.m., the next meeting will be on Jan. 9 at 6 p.m.