ISLAND FALLS, Maine — A smaller group of residents than previous years came out Saturday for Island Falls’ annual town meeting.
About 35 citizens attended the meeting and approved a total municipal budget of $824,146. That figure is an increase of $76,839 over the previous budget. Last year’s budget request was originally $790,130 but was reduced by voters to $747,307 at a town meeting. The 2012 budget was $807,234.
The exact impact the municipal budget will have on taxes in Island Falls will not be known until the RSU 50 school budget gets approved sometime in June.
Ken Colville, who again served as moderator for this year’s town meeting, gave a brief description on the town meeting process.
Resident Peter Connelly addressed the gathering prior to the action items.
“We’ve had a good year in Island Falls,” Connelly said. “Frank’s Garage has kept cars going. We had a wonderful Summerfest. And I think we have made it through another winter. We have a lot to be thankful for.”
An attempt was made to lower the total budget figure by $148,195 by using funds from the town’s surplus account. That amendment did not succeed.
Island Falls Town Manager Dave Dionne said dipping into the town’s surplus account year after year was not advisable.
“The town needs to have capital available in case of emergency, and the level we currently have [unassigned] affords us roughly three to three-and-a-half months of operating capital.”
At the end of 2013, the town of Island Falls had about $865,729 in its surplus account. Of that amount, $14,816 was in nonspendable [perpetual care]; $327,718 was in assigned funds; and $523,195 was unassigned funds.
Some residents questioned why the use of excise tax revenues was not listed as separate warrant articles as they are in many other communities. This year’s projected excise tax revenue was approximately $125,000. Dionne said that revenue would be used to lessen the impact on taxes.
Voters also gave selectmen the authorization to review and correct boundary issues between the town and abutting landowners after several discrepancies were noted.
During the general elections held earlier in the day, Paige Colville was re-elected to a three-year term on the board of selectmen with 49 votes, while Don Merry was also elected to a three-year term with 30 votes. Steven Walker was re-elected to the RSU 50 school board with 53 votes.