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Citizens stop spending
PERU- More than 100 concerned citizens attended a meeting in the former elementary school last week to hold firm to their position of cutting the town operations budget that was turned down in the June 14 vote. Also, on the chopping block, the future of the Peru Rec Center, a four-year-long project that has been costing the town thousands.
According to town clerk, Vera Parent, “Not only did the citizens cut our town operations budget by $10,000, bringing it down to $62,900, but they also voted to not allocate any funds for the Peru Rec Center. With no funds, we will have to now figure out how to get the building closed up.”
Along with the cutting of the operations budget, selectmen will be meeting on July 11 to figure out how to pay for the closing up and draining of the pipes of the former school. With that project costing money, selectmen have their work cut out for them.
Parent noted, “It’s a very real possibility that we’ll have to close the office one day a week to save money. We’ve been operating on a shoestring budget for years and we’ve cut back where we can, now it comes down to a cut back in services to our citizens.”
Attending the meeting were Danny Wing and his wife Marylou. The two were joined in confusion by other citizens who were under the assumption that if the budget failed then town operations would be cut down to 80-percent of the previous year’s budget.
Newly elected Chairman of the Board, Tim Holland, explained, “In 2007, the town voted to operate at 80-percent of the previous year’s budget, but it is state law that each year the town has to vote that into place. One board cannot encumber funds from previous boards. As selectmen, we’ve got a tough road ahead, but we’ll get things done.”
In regards to the former school and citizens not approving funds to keep the building open, the half a dozen groups that currently hold meetings and classes there will be displaced. One of those groups is Civil Air Patrol (CAP).
Joe Roberts of CAP noted, “I was very pleased with the communication and effort the Peru selectmen made with us to help get us into that space. It disappoints me to know that we now don’t have a place to go and at this point, I honestly cannot tell you what we’re going to do. We are currently without a venue to perform trainings or hold our meetings. We are being proactive and have a group of officers seeking out other venues.”