Proposed Friendship budget would lower property taxes

By Stephen Betts, BDN Staff
Posted Feb. 23, 2012, at 5:50 p.m.

FRIENDSHIP, Maine — Homeowners will pay less in property taxes for municipal services if the proposed 2012 town budget is approved as recommended by selectmen.

This would be the second consecutive year that the amount of property taxes raised for town operations would be down from the previous year. The projected tax rate, however, will not be known until after the school board budget is approved since 75 percent of taxes raised in town go to RSU 40.

Residents also will decide two contested municipal races when they go to the polls next month.

Voters also will be asked to help their school board representatives by reimbursing them for the cost of fuel to attend school district meetings.

The annual town meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 20, at the Hahn Community Center. Voting on candidates and one article asking for $16,000 to complete work on the town’s athletic fields will be done at the polls from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday, March 19, at the town office.

Elizabeth Dinsmore is unopposed for re-election to the Board of Selectmen for a three-year term.

Errol Silvestri is unopposed for a three-year seat on the RSU 40 board. Silvestri was appointed a year ago to fill a vacant seat on the school board.

Joel Fearn is unopposed for another three-year term as town clerk.

There are two contested races. Stewart Harrington is challenging Kyle Martin for the road commissioner post. Martin has served as road commissioner for 16 years. The term is for three years.

For an open three-year seat on the board of assessors, Gunilla Broman and John Homon are on the ballot. One will succeed Angie Lash, who did not run for another term.

The proposed 2012 municipal budget totals $711,334, representing an increase of less than 1 percent from the voter-approved 2011 budget of $707,481. The amount of money needed from property taxes for the proposed budget is projected at $361,334, down 5 percent ($21,000) from 2011.

The budget calls for using $350,000 in surplus to lower the amount of property taxes, up from $325,000 a year ago.

Funding for highway department is the largest amount requested in the proposed budget at $146,000, down from $151,000 last year.

The general government account is proposed at $145,679, up from $138,570.

The protection budget is recommended at $125,047, down from $127,681.

The health, sanitation and social services account is proposed at $95,072, down from $103,217, and the buildings account is proposed at $56,022, down from $54,390.

Debt service is proposed at $45,063, up from $28,510. The increase is due to work done on Salt Pond Bridge that is shared with Cushing.

One article on the warrant asks residents to raise up to $1,000 to pay both of the town’s school board representatives $500 to offset the price of fuel to attend meetings. Board members have to travel at least 30 miles round trip for each meeting held in Warren and 40 miles round trip if the meetings are at the administrative offices in Union.

Fearn said the school board members did not ask for the reimbursement and were not told the item would be on the town warrant. He noted town officials realize it has been difficult to get people to serve on the school board and this was something to help compensate for expenses they incur to serve the town.

http://bangordailynews.com/2012/02/23/news/midcoast/proposed-friendship-budget-would-lower-property-taxes/ printed on July 22, 2014