GUILFORD, Maine — Selectmen learned Tuesday that the state’s latest proposed budget cuts would reduce revenue sharing funds paid to the town by more than $26,000, according to Guilford Town Manager Tom Goulette.
The MMA notified town officials that the Legislature used $44 million of the municipal revenue sharing last spring to help balance the state budget. In addition, Gov. John Baldacci has proposed taking $12 million from this year’s revenue sharing distribution and an additional $15 million from next year’s revenue sharing.
“We’re going to have to look at what we can and can’t continue for services,” Goulette said Thursday, of the continuing state cuts. “Every meeting in Augusta, they break a promise, delete a commitment, and shift another burden from their budget to ours. Every year, a Palesky or a Tabor initiative tries to reform the property tax situation because it’s getting out of hand and yet the 38 percent solution continually erodes the state’s commitment by shifting the burden onto the backs of local property-tax payers.”
Selectmen earlier this week discussed the rising local costs and agreed to increase the annual fire protection contacts with Abbot and Parkman to $14,000 a year each, the first increase in six years.
Goulette said wages and overall expenses are behind the $2,000-a-year hike. He said the increase might have come sooner had the town not had a grant that helped keep local costs down.
The increase will be presented to both towns and it will be up to residents in those communities to decide whether they want to continue with the Guilford service and pay the increased fee.
Goulette said the new fee is still a bargain for the two communities.
Selectmen also discussed the town’s medical building and changes that the tenant may want to make. Mayo Associates, a division of Mayo Regional Hospital in Dover-Foxcroft, leases the building from the town and pays more than $20,000 a year, according to Goulette. He said Mayo Associates had subleased a section of the building to Northwoods Healthcare but that practice has since relocated. The hospital now would like to make some renovations inside the building. The medical building committee will meet with Mayo officials later to discuss the project, Goulette said.