20210318-LOC-city hall filer

Keene City Hall

The Keene City Council will hold a public hearing on the city’s proposed 2021-22 budget Thursday.

The council’s Finance, Organization and Personnel Committee voted May 27 to recommend that the full council approve the proposed $63.4 million operating budget, as well as $2.9 million in bonds for three general-fund capital projects — flood management, road work and improvements at Patricia T. Russell Park (formerly known as Carpenter Field) — and $6.3 million in capital expenses for the city’s other funds. The committee did not make any amendments.

The proposed appropriations include the $47.9 million general-fund budget, which is partially funded through property-tax revenue, as well as self-supporting funds like water, sewer and parking. The city is proposing to raise about $27 million in property-tax revenue for the coming fiscal year.

City Manager Elizabeth Dragon has said the budget would represent a 1.7 percent increase to the city’s portion of the property-tax rate. Major changes in the budget for the coming fiscal year include personnel shifts and an increase in how much the city must contribute to the state retirement system.

The proposed budget’s staffing changes include the addition of an assistant city attorney to help the city with its high volume of public records requests.

The city also anticipates using several hundred thousand dollars in federal aid from the American Rescue Plan, passed by Congress in March, to offset COVID-related revenue drops in the general and parking funds.

The public hearing will take place during the council’s regular 7 p.m. meeting this Thursday. Members of the public can join the meeting via Zoom by going to us02web.zoom.us/j/82827464839 or calling 1-877-853-5257 and entering meeting ID 828 2746 4839.

The City Council is scheduled to vote on the budget two weeks later.

The proposed budget can be viewed on the city’s website at ci.keene.nh.us/finance-purchasing/financial-documents.

Paul Cuno-Booth can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1409, or pbooth@keenesentinel.com. Follow him on Twitter @PCunoBoothKS.