A bill to allow New Hampshire towns to establish contingency funds is advancing in the New Hampshire legislature.

HB 134 has cleared the House of Representatives and was referred to the Senate on Feb. 13.The measure would allow town boards of selectmen to create town contingency funds. The funds would cover emergency expenditures or expense runovers.

Republicans Reps. Jim Belanger and Carolyn Gargasz are sponsoring the bill.

Explaining his bill, Belanger said: "Governing bodies used to be allowed contingency funds. That provision was dropped when legislation was changed which authorized the governing body to have a fund to be used for any purpose approved by the voters. But since contingency was no longer specifically stated, some officials assumed that it was omitted on purpose, which is not the case."

The bill specifies that the fund is not to exceed 1% of the preceding year's budget, excluding the allocation for capital expenditures and debt amortization.

"The 1% is consistent with existing language that allows school boards, village districts and others to have a contingency fund," Belanger wrote in an email.

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