Baileyville officials hope to keep budget stable

Posted April 28, 2010, at 7:03 p.m.

BAILEYVILLE, Maine — Town councilors are working hard on the 2010-11 budget, attempting to keep the tax rate stable, Town Manager Linda Pagels Wentworth said Wednesday.

“Last year, the council was very, very conservative,” she said. “That makes this year’s process much easier.”

Wentworth said a recent audit revealed that there are reserve funds that have been carefully protected and are now available for a series of purchases.

“The town has been very cautious with its spending in the past,” she said, describing the situation as “a revolving door of town managers.”

Wentworth recently was hired as town manager, leaving a post as county manager in Machias. She said the job was challenging and hands-on. Wentworth, who has worked with the council throughout the process, said the budget will be final in May.

She said the council is contemplating purchasing a cruiser, a street sweeper and a loader. Paving will also be a major consideration, she said.

For 2009-10, the municipal budget, including school payments, was almost $5 million. She said the council is reworking the fee schedule for the sewer department, and combined with using reserve accounts for purchases, she hopes to keep the budget stable for the coming fiscal year, or possibly reduce the tax burden.

Meanwhile, Wentworth said, the council has accepted Police Chief Phil Harriman’s notice of retirement and has begun a search for his replacement. The town already has received two applications.

Harriman has been Baileyville’s chief for 26 years, Wentworth said.

Wentworth said the Town Council also has altered its warrant system and is now meeting every two weeks, at 6:30 p.m. on the second and fourth Mondays at the Baileyville Municipal Building. The first meeting of the month will be for new and old town business, while the second meeting will be reserved for signing warrants.

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