2010 Pittsfield budget passes council’s muster, ready for vote

Posted Dec. 01, 2009, at 10:51 p.m.

PITTSFIELD, Maine — The Town Council finished its line-by-line review of the town’s 2010 spending plan Tuesday night without making any adjustments.

There hasn’t been much to complain about, considering that the municipal budget proposed by Town Manager Kathryn Ruth is 2 percent lower than the budget year that ends Dec. 31.

Tuesday’s discussion centered on spending on the airport, Recreation Department, library, theater and community service agencies. Ruth proposed small decreases in all of those accounts, but some councilors were looking to save more.

Councilor Caleb Curtis, who manages the airport, eyed $3,470 the town pays someone to mow the fields and safety areas near the runways. Curtis suggested that the town’s public works crews could take over the job.

“This might be one area where we could save a little money,” he said. The overall budget for the airport is proposed to be $24,412 for 2010, an $801 decrease from this year.

Ruth said it was a suggestion worth exploring for next year’s budget, but cautioned that the public works crew already took on mowing the town’s parks this year. In addition, she said, the contract with the person doing the job now remains active.

Pittsfield Community Theatre’s budget is proposed to hold steady at $122,860, though suffering revenues will require fundraisers, which Ruth said are already in the works. In addition, Ruth said she expected members of the theater committee to propose raising ticket prices by $1. It would be the first price increase in many years, said Ruth.

Mayor Timothy Nichols commended the volunteers who run the theater for their solid performance in a difficult year.

“As much work as went in down there this year, this is a pretty good budget,” he said.

The public will have its chance to weigh in on the municipal and capital budgets at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 15, in council chambers. The overall budget’s impact on property taxes won’t be known until spring when spending plans for public schools and county government become clear.

The council is scheduled to vote on the budget at the Dec. 15 meeting.

In other business, the council unanimously approved a $10,213 addition to the contract for the expansion and renovation of Pittsfield Public Library. The decision was made easier by the fact the project is funded by donations and grants.

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