Medway officials get closer to closing $130,000 budget gap

Posted May 12, 2010, at 10:19 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 12 p.m.

MEDWAY, Maine — Town leaders are creeping closer to keeping the town office open full-time by saving $130,000 in estimated costs inherent in the 2010-11 fiscal budget, town Administrative Assistant Kathy Lee said Wednesday.

The Board of Selectmen will meet at the town office at 6:30 tonight to possibly complete its version of the budget for voters’ consideration at a town meeting on June 9, Lee said. Residents are invited to attend.

Selectmen cut much of the $130,000 deficit from the budget during a meeting Monday, usually with small trims that won’t be felt much by most residents, Lee said. The cuts proposed include:

— A cut of $42,000 that would have gone into the town’s designated surplus account as an annual contribution.

— Reduction of the Parks and Recreation Department budget by $2,000.

— Eliminating cost-of-living payroll increases for the town’s nine workers, saving about $9,800.

— $12,500 cut from the payroll accounts of the Public Works Department and town transfer station.

ä Halving the $12,000 needed to buy a radio repeater in a purchase required to allow town emergency service providers to continue to use the Penobscot Radio Communications Center in Bangor.

Town officials learned that they could split the payment over the next two years, Lee said.

Selectmen have been grappling with a dilemma, Lee has said, involving whether to shut down the town office for a day a week and make other cuts to services to ease the $130,000 deficit or to maintain services and increase the town’s mill rate 2½ mills. The current rate is 24.5 mills, she said.

The increase would force residents owning $100,000 worth of property to pay $2,700 in town taxes annually instead of $2,450.

A board meeting called on May 3 to allow residents to resolve the dilemma drew a relatively small crowd and a mixed message, Lee said.

Selectmen might be close enough to saving town office hours if they opted to eliminate the town’s road paving budget for next year, Lee said, but they decided to spend about $32,000 on paving small sections of the most damaged portions of town roads.

Closing the town office and transfer station a day a week and putting town office workers on 32-hour schedules would save about $21,400.

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