To sort out contradictory budget vote, Durham will hold special town meeting May 22

Durham officials have scheduled a special town meeting on May 22 to sort out the contradictory results from last month’s budget vote.

The April 6 vote was set to determine the fate of the town’s $3.6 million municipal budget, however, while voters approved all the budget spending articles, they rejected an increase in the property tax levy limit.

More specifically, voters authorized the town to raise $1,669,614 in the budget articles but voted for the 2021 levy limit to sit at $1,583,039 — an $86,575 difference.

To bridge the gap, the select board decided to ask voters not to raise the levy limit, but instead re-vote on one budget article and raise $86,575 less in taxes than what was originally approved.

By law, a special town meeting is required to sort out the difference.

“We felt it was important to honor the result of the vote that said ‘no’ to an increase in the levy limit this year,” reads a statement from the town. “Likewise, the Board felt it was important to also honor the votes on the budget articles and not re-vote on the total budgeted amounts that were approved on April 6th.”

To find a solution, the board is asking the town to vote once more on a single budget article related to bond payments for public works, road construction and fire department equipment.

“We still need to make our bond payments, but rather than raise all the money in taxes as approved on April 6th, this time we partially fund this budget article using transfers from capital reserves and undesignated fund accounts,” the statement reads.

This is the only budget article that will be voted on at the special meeting.

Rain or shine, the meeting will take place at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 22, outside at the town office. Parking will be available at the fire station, Eureka Center and Route 9. Handicap parking will be available in the town office parking lot.

The town requires that CDC and State pandemic guidelines be followed. The town asks that residents bring their own portable chairs if possible.

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