LIMESTONE, Maine — As the Limestone Board of Selectmen has been moving forward with budget preparations, they’ve expressed more than once that the townspeople have the power to swat down any proposed changes during the annual town meeting, regardless of their efforts and suggestions.
The board has organized a public hearing, set for 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 21, well before the annual town meeting on Wednesday, June 13, to discuss three of the largest changes being proposed — the possibility of reducing the Police Department’s hours of daily operation from 24 to 18, changing a part-time position at the town office to a full-time position and combining two part-time jobs at the public works department (a winter plow truck driver and a summer maintenance position) into one full-time position.
While the discussion of creating two new town positions is relatively new for the board (aimed at potential cost savings for public works and long-term training opportunities in the town office as Limestone’s administrative employees approach retirement), the selectmen have been discussing possibly reducing the Police Department’s coverage in Limestone for months.
By minimizing the hours Limestone police officers patrol the town and cutting the work force down from two full-time officers to one, the town looks to possibly save $30,000.
This would be the second year in a row the Police Department received drastic funding cuts, having been budgeted $30,000 less for 2012 than 2011.
When the board first began looking at the draft 2013 budget, initial figures showed the town facing a mil-and-a-half increase in taxes, without taking into consideration Limestone’s financial contribution to RSU 39, figures for which are currently unavailable.
The public hearing serves as an opportunity for community members to discuss the proposed changes with the board.
The public hearing will be held at 6 p.m. at the Limestone Municipal Building in Limestone; the regularly scheduled meeting of the Limestone Board of Selectmen will take place immediately afterward.