HOULTON — With the economy in flux and the price of most things increasing, Town Manager Doug Hazlett ac-knowledged earlier this week that it would likely be another year of belt tightening for town officials as they put together the municipal budget for next year.
Hazlett said town officials, town councilors and members of the board of budget review already have met to talk about the budget situation and “get everyone on the same page.”
“The good news is that we are seeing good things on the revenue front and we have a bond debt that is leaving us,” he said. “But we also have old needs that haven’t gone away. We still need more money for road repair and to fix sidewalks and to do other projects that we have put on the back burner.”
Hazlett noted that the town is still responsible for its share of the reconstruction of a section of Route 2A known as Bangor Street. Crews began repairing the road in the spring after the project was delayed for ap-proximately eight years. The project is expected to continue for another year.
Over the past few years, the town has delayed the completion of several capital projects in favor of a policy of spending now to save the town money in the future. Town officials have purchased new furnaces to replace old units in town buildings to make them more energy efficient. At the same time, however, the town has seen an increase in the price of fuel for its buildings and its vehicles, as well as spikes in the cost of road salt and asphalt.
Hazlett predicted it will be a difficult few months for those who will begin piecing together the budget.
“If the goal is to keep taxes the same, we are really going to have to tighten our belts,” he said.