Deer Isle voters to weigh leaner budget in voting Monday

Posted Feb. 24, 2009, at 8:30 p.m.
Last modified Feb. 13, 2011, at 10:46 a.m.

DEER ISLE, Maine — Anticipating declines in revenues, selectmen have put together a town budget that will require an increase in the amount of money to be raised through property taxes.

Voters will act on the budget at the annual town meeting, which will begin at 2 p.m. Monday, March 2, at the town hall. The polls for municipal and school elections will be open from 7:30 to 11:30 a.m.

According to First Selectman Neville Hardy, the selectmen have made cutbacks in most areas of the budget, including the firetruck reserve account. Also, Hardy said, the town would postpone further work on the former elementary school building for this year.

The one area where there are no cutbacks is the road account.

“We’ve kept that about the same as last year,” he said. “If you don’t, it’ll come back to bite you next time around.”

Hardy said they budgeted the same amount as last year in the snow account, $240,000, but added that he anticipates he’ll have to ask voters to increase that amount during the meeting. The costs of clearing the roads of snow have been higher this year. In January, he said, the town spent about $65,000 on snow removal compared with $48,000 last year. Last February, the town spent $52,000. This year, Hardy said, the town already has spent $36,000 and there is still one more payroll to be added to those costs.

The budget anticipates that the town will see a decline in revenues this year.

“I’m afraid we’re going to get less in excise taxes this year,” Hardy said. “And I’m not sure what the state’s going to do with revenue sharing.”

The total municipal budget is $928,887, which is just about the same as last year, Hardy said. The selectmen have budgeted using $417,387 from taxes for that budget, an increase of $44,646 from last year. The amount to be taken from surplus has decreased, from $179,600 in 2008 to $153,400 this year; and the amount from ex-cise tax has dropped from $380,400 last year to $358,100 for the proposed budget.

If voters agree to increase funds for snow removal, Hardy said, that likely would increase the amount to be raised from taxes.

The school budget will be voted on at a community school district meeting later this year.

There are no contested races for municipal officers this year. There are three candidates for two three-year seats on the community school district committee: incumbent Michael Cormier, Amanda Larrabee and Andrew Vaughn. Incumbents Don Sargent and Skip Greenlaw are the only candidates for two two-year openings on the board.

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