June 20, 2018
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Houlton councilors approve $8.5 million spending plan

By Jen Lynds, BDN Staff

HOULTON, Maine — Despite some objection from residents, the Town Council quickly approved an $8.5 million budget Thursday.

Officials, including the council and the budget review board, had been looking over the proposal since November. The council unanimously adopted the budget after an hour-long hearing at the town office.

The council reviewed a budget that was $14,000 less than what the budget review board had recommended. The budget panel reviews the budget and makes recommendations that are then considered by the council.

During the public hearing, residents Phil Bernaiche and Stan Ginish offered suggestions for cuts they felt could be made to the budget, as well as areas where they asked the council to add money.

Bernaiche wanted to reduce the budget for the Public Works Department. He suggested cutting $30,000 from that line item.

Ginish wanted to reduce the town’s community development line item and also cut back on funding set aside for employee benefits. In addition, he said, that the funds set aside for the Aroostook Area Agency on Aging should be increased.

Those suggestions were not adopted by the council.

Don Keiser, chairman of the budget review board, told councilors he felt this year’s budget was “very well done.” He also said the committee had voted 6-2 in favor of recommending that the council pursue a $1 million bond to repair municipal roads and sidewalks.

The issue will go before voters during a special election in March.

Councilor Paul Romanelli said the budget was “very realistic.”

“It is a very good budget,” council Chairman Paul Cleary said Thursday.



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