June 25, 2013

Gardiner manager to present no-tax-hike budget Wednesday

By Paul Koenig
Staff Writer

GARDINER — The city manager will present a revised budget Wednesday with no tax increase, after the majority of councilors and residents at the city council meeting two weeks ago objected to the possibility of a tax hike.

City Manager Scott Morelli proposed a budget without a tax increase in April, but the expected cuts to municipal revenue sharing from the state are causing a $185,000 shortfall for the city.

The council is holding a public hearing on the proposed budget at its 7 p.m. meeting at City Hall.

Two weeks ago, councilors and residents urged further reductions to a proposed $8.7 million budget.

The biggest impact of the city's proposed cuts will come from eliminating some of the road paving budget, no longer funding a part-time librarian for the Boys & Girls Club and not funding the purchase of new air packs for the fire department, according to Morelli.

Councilors had suggested at their meeting two weeks ago to cut all new road paving from the budget, saving $90,000.

The proposed cuts from Morelli include only about half of that.

Morelli worked with other city staff members to come up with the proposed cuts to try to hold taxes flat for the second year in a row.

Councilors will hold a second and final reading of the budget at their July 10 meeting if they approve a first reading of the budget tonight.

The council will also need to approve a continuing resolution Wednesday to allow the city to use money at the start of the new fiscal year on July 1 until a new budget is approved.

A portion of the $185,000 shortfall was able to be covered by revenue from Summit Natural Gas of Maine.

The permits to lay natural gas pipe in the ground will generate $45,000 in revenue for this year, according to Morelli.

Paul Koenig — 621-5663

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