June 19, 2018
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Warren budget passed on to voters

By Stephen Betts, BDN Staff

WARREN, Maine — Residents are scheduled to gather next month for the annual town meeting with a proposed budget that is up 3 percent.

The effect on property taxes is expected to be minimal with the use of additional surplus to cushion the increase.

A $2,142,216 budget was unveiled last month by Town Manager Grant Watmough and has been reviewed since by the selectmen and budget committee.

The budget shows no significant changes from the 2011 approved budget.

Pay raises of 3 percent for most employees is included in the package.

One account that shows an increase is for public safety dispatch fees that are projected at $118,678, an increase of $30,357, or 34 percent. The increase is due to the town’s population jumping sharply from the 2000 U.S. Census to the 2010 Census. The jump was caused by the Maine State Prison, which has the capacity to house 916 inmates, relocating in 2002 from Thomaston to Warren. The Legislature, however, will be considering a bill this session that would exclude prison inmates from the town’s population for consideration in cost-sharing for Knox County dispatch fees.

The roads and bridges highway budget is the largest account in the proposed municipal budget at $416,990, an 8 percent increase, or $32,190.
Within that budget, one of the largest increases is for fuel and oil are projected to rise $10,000.

The town paving budget is proposed at $245,000, the same as in 2011; transfer station, $215,185, down 2 percent ($5,315); administration salaries account, $196,949, up 2 percent ($4,664); insurances account, $149,800, up 3 percent ($4,520); and ambulance budget, $139,000, up 4 percent ($4,900).

The unclassified account, which includes reserve accounts for town vehicles, is nearly the same at $126,554.

The fire department budget is proposed at $73,510, up 3 percent ($2,290) and the town buildings account at $61,110, up 8 percent ($4,410).

The annual Warren town meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 27, at the Warren Community School.

The effect from the municipal side of the budget will be minimal. The largest portion of the property taxes raised in town go to the RSU 40 budget.

The town’s current tax rate is $14 per $1,000 of assessed property.

Residents also will elect two selectmen and a school board representative at the polls on Monday, March 26. Polls will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. No one took out nomination papers for the school board seat held by Bonnie Davis Micue who is chairwoman of the RSU 40 board.

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