Eddington residents endorse second part of 17-month budget, annual town meeting July 30

Posted July 23, 2013, at 2:25 p.m.

EDDINGTON, Maine — Town leaders are holding a second annual town meeting next week to finalize the second portion of the 17-month budget that will align the town’s fiscal year with the fiscal years of the state, county and school, Town Manager Russell Smith said Tuesday.

The town meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 30, at the Eddington town hall and the budget is the only item on the agenda. A 20-minute public hearing was held Monday to review the draft budget figures, Smith said.

“The total amount for the next 12 months is $1,018,926, which is only $5,646 over the previous 12 months,” the town manager said.

Eddington has operated on a Feb. 1-Jan. 31 fiscal year for decades, but residents decided at the March 2012 annual meeting to make a change and align with the state’s fiscal year that runs July 1-June 30.

There was a boisterous discussion last week over making the change, but in the end the public’s wishes were followed, and Monday’s public hearing was scheduled to review the second portion of a 17-month budget that would align the town’s fiscal year with the state.

As a first step, residents approved a partial 5-month budget of $400,292 at the annual town meeting held in March, and in June extended it to the end of July because the town manager was out on sick leave.

The total 17-month draft budget is a combination of the two, or $1,419,218, Smith said.

“That will be spread over two tax payments, half due in September and half due in March,” he said.

Residents also learned at Monday’s public hearing that the projected property tax rate increase is dropping again from the originally anticipated $1.50 increase, Smith said.

“We may be 90 cents to $1,” the town manager said. “We’ve taken revenue out of surplus and the school bill is less.”

The school bill originally showed an increase of $214,000, but that amount dropped by nearly $41,000, Smith said.

“The total amount we’re paying the school for the 17 months is $2,182,479,” the town manager said.

The town used $425,000 in undesignated surplus last year and is using $575,000 in undesignated surplus for the 17-month budget, Smith said.

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