Greenville officials bracing for economic reality

Posted Dec. 20, 2008, at 5:40 p.m.

GREENVILLE, Maine — Local officials are preparing for the worst as the economy continues its downward slide.

“We, like the rest of the country, are reacting to this recession; we have to recognize that quite possibly in the next six months, revenues that we have projected may or may not come in to the extent that we thought,” Greenville Town Manager John Simko said Friday.

Simko said the town is bracing itself for diminished funding in a variety of different accounts. He expects excise tax collection will probably be less robust because fewer people are buying or upgrading cars and that other revenues will be reduced.

The town’s auditor admonished town officials in the past to budget more carefully and be less optimistic in their revenue projections, according to Simko. He said that message has been taken to heart.

Because the town has been so optimistic in its revenue projections in the past, there has been little revenue that has lapsed to surplus, Simko said. In addition, at times the town has fallen short of its anticipated revenues, he said.

That move, combined with budgeting everything so closely, causes problems when a piece of equipment loses an engine, or a police officer has to be sent to the academy or the price of salt increases beyond the budgeted amount, Simko said. It all affects the fund balance or surplus account, he said.

“We’re going to try to take steps to basically curtail part of our expense budget in the next six months,” Simko said. He said he is working with department heads to see what each can get by without. That’s a tough process, Simko said, because the department heads have already cut out some things that should have been com-pleted or purchased.

“It’s not a pleasant process,” Simko said..”This is the economic reality and if we’re going to be financially responsible, we’ve got to do that.” Some of the things that may be curtailed could affect operations, he said.

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