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Funds transferred to cover town's budget for legal expenses

As expected, the town's expenses for legal services are exceeding their budget for fiscal 2019 and the Town Council has made an adjustment.

The council on Jan. 14 approved a transfer of $80,000 from unassigned fund balance to replenish the line for legal and audit services. As of Jan. 1, 2019 the town had spent $76,511 of the $75,000 in the subaccount for legal services.

The town charter prohibits overexpenditure of appropriations for single lines, and, although the line for combined legal and audit services is within budget, Town Manager Matthew Sturgis said he anticipates that legal expenses, already at 102 percent of budget, will soon put the line over. "Once I process the current amounts that I have we will blow by our current budgeted amount, but I think $80 (thousand) would get us through to the end of the (fiscal) year," Sturgis said.

Most of the costs are related to defense of a lawsuit challenging the town's rights in the Surf Side Avenue and Atlantic Place paper streets, Sturgis said, but other, less labor-intensive legal actions are also ongoing.

As of Jan. 14 the unassigned fund balance stood at $3.86 million, Sturgis said.