CAMDEN, Maine — Though municipal revenues are down, voters at tonight’s annual town meeting will see a proposed $5.77 million budget that is $100,000 less than the budget approved by residents a year ago.
According to the town manager, the town’s tax commitment shouldn’t change too much if the budget passes as recommended.
“We don’t anticipate an increase,” said Town Manager Roberta Smith.
Expected nontax revenues for the next fiscal year are $1.94 million, and the recommended amount to be raised by taxation to pay for the municipal budget is $3.82 million, Smith said, about $60,000 more than was spent in 2009.
Some budget highlights include:
ä A locked-in fuel oil price of $2.055 a gallon for the next fiscal year, which compares favorably with the $3.32 a gallon now paid.
ä A 3 percent cost-of-living raise for nonunion employees, with about a third of pay increases offset with a reduction in staff hours, according to town officials.
ä An approximate 2 percent reduction in general government expenditures, including the reduction of seasonal, part-time code enforcement officer hours.
ä A 3 percent reduction in the recommended cemetery appropriation for the 2010 fiscal year.
ä A 3 percent decrease in funding for Camden Public Library.
The public safety recommendation of $1.63 million, including $912,000 for the Police Department, is exactly the same as in the 2008 fiscal year.
Town officials said they’re hoping the property tax mill rate won’t change too much from the 2009 rate of $13.14 per $1,000 of valuation.
“I know that everybody’s trying really hard to keep things the same,” said assessor’s agent John Doan.
While permits are down “quite a bit” in town, Camden’s property values are still holding, Doan said.
“I’m still out there trying to increase the tax base,” Doan said. “We haven’t seen the big decline that some places in the U.S. and Maine have.”
Camden’s 2009 annual town meeting will be held at 7 tonight at the Camden Opera House.