Union town budget comes in lower than previous year

By Stephen Betts, BDN Staff
Posted March 11, 2013, at 12:46 p.m.

UNION, Maine — The town manager has presented selectmen with a proposed 2013-2014 budget that reduces spending.

Town Manager Jay Feyler presented selectmen this week with a proposed budget of $2,080,937, down $8,604 from the approved 2012-13 budget.

The budget calls for reducing the code enforcement officer position to half-time and reducing the hours of the treasurer.

Feyler said the board has discussed the code position for the past two years, and with the retirement of the code officer, the deliberations began again. He said he expects the board will put the proposed reduction out to the voters at the annual town meeting as it was made full time during an annual town meeting many years ago.

“I believe we can handle this on a part-time basis as long as the citizens understand the reduced services and [that] the code officer will only be available two days a week,” Feyler said.

Selectmen will meet every Tuesday night until the board finalizes the budget and sends it for residents to vote on at the annual town meeting in June.

The highway department budget is proposed to increase less than 2 percent, reaching $760,458.

The administration budget is proposed at $410,269, down 4 percent.

The protection budget is proposed at $317,600, down 6 percent.

The municipal portion of the budget will not increase taxes, but Feyler said he does not have a projected tax rate yet because he does not know what the school district assessment will be.

Nomination papers for town offices can be taken out beginning March 18. Two selectmen seats are up for vote — one for a three-year term and the other for a two-year term. The seats currently are held by Lyle Cramer and James Justice.

There also is a seat up for vote on the Regional School Unit 40 board, which currently is held by Erik Amundsen.

The treasurer’s post also is up for a vote. That post has been held for more than 25 years by Linda McAllister. The treasurer position has been a source of controversy in town with selectmen asking voters in November if they wanted to change the post from an elected one to an appointed one. Residents narrowly voted in November to keep it an elected position.

The proposed budget also reduces the treasurer’s pay to $5,000 annually to perform statutory duties. The town then would hire a bookkeeper to do the day-to-day work, according to Feyler. The town manager said change was proposed because McAllister has only worked a few weeks in the past year but has not resigned.

McAllister could not be reached for comment Monday.

Town elections will be Tuesday, June 11.

The town meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday, June 17, at the Union town office.

http://bangordailynews.com/2013/03/11/news/midcoast/union-town-budget-comes-in-lower-than-previous-year/ printed on July 14, 2014