By Mina Corpuz

mcorpuz@nashobavalleyvoice.com

PEPPERELL -- The town proposed nearly $27.3 million budget for Fiscal Year 2019 that recommends creating two full time police officer and fire EMT jobs and capital projects that focus on public safety.

Town Administrator Mark Andrews unveiled the balanced budget Monday night during a joint Board of Selectmen and Finance Committee meeting.

The budget proposes $85,470 for a full time officer position and $70,162 for an EMT position.

Pepperell, which is in the fourth year of its five-year capital plan, will put nearly $580,000 toward capital items in the budget.

Big ticket capital plan items include $143,000 for a new dispatch console, $100,000 to replace the roof of the public safety complex, $54,000 for two ambulance monitors, and $50,000 for a new police cruiser.

Other funding would go toward a new fire hose, police recording system, fire pagers and radios, and a new phone system for Town Hall.

Town leadership and departments have had the chance to weigh in on the budget. Initially, there were about $953,000 in requests for the budget.

The state budget, which will be finalized by the summer, will set the tone for the town and regional school district budgets.

Pepperell's budget will approved at Town Meeting in May.

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Charlie Baker's budget that boosts local aid and includes a historical level of funding for K-12 education could help Pepperell, Andrews wrote in his budget message.

The budget message also highlighted the town's ability to receive grants and success with economic development.

In June, Pepperell secured its first $250,000 Green Communities grant to make energy efficient improvements. Most of the grant money went to school projects, including new LED lighting and weatherproofing fixes for Nissitissit Middle School.

Andrews is encouraging departments to seek grants to offset the need to use local funds for capital projects.

During the previous fiscal year, the town has created jobs and reduced its unemployment rate. In his budget message, Andrews touted the Pepperell Place Business Center, which has already attracted four businesses to the space.