Medway leaders delay budget process until state leaders complete theirs

Posted May 16, 2013, at 7:18 p.m.

MEDWAY, Maine — Uncertainty about what the state Legislature will do with Gov. Paul LePage’s proposed state budget has prompted town leaders to delay their own budget work indefinitely, town Administrative Assistant Kathy Lee said Thursday.

“How do you put together a budget without knowing what your revenues are going to be? There are too many unknowns,” Lee said.

Besides the mystery of whether state government will share revenue with municipalities, town officials await word on tax break programs for homeowners and excise tax revenues, Lee said.

The Board of Selectmen is the first government body in the Katahdin and Lincoln Lakes regions to decide to wait until the state government budget is set before completing its budget, Lee said.

“I don’t want to set something up and then have to change it,” Lee said.

Lee consulted with the Maine Municipal Association before recommending it. She said MMA officials had told her they had received a few calls from other municipal leaders interested in the legality of waiting.

East Millinocket officials asked Lee about it as well, she said.

Selectmen have delayed the budget by not setting a town meeting date. Under her plan, the town would create a new budget effective July 1 that would consist almost entirely of numbers from the 2012-13 budget, which lapses June 30, Lee said.

Selectmen legally cannot extend the 2012-13 budget beyond June 30. They will instead set a date for a town meeting, at which residents must vote to approve a budget before it can go into effect, as soon as the state situation becomes clear enough, Lee said.

“We are watching it every day,” she said.

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