February 3, 2013

Belgrade selectmen plan to pass on to voters modest budget increase

Board set on Tuesday to approve warrant article for $2.2 million town budget, up $16,933 from last year's plan

By Paul Koenig pkoenig@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

BELGRADE -- Residents will see only a minor increase in the budget they'll vote on at the March annual Town Meeting if the Board of Selectpersons approves the proposed budget Tuesday night.

The proposed budget of $2,213,575 is less than 1 percent larger than last year's budget of $2,196,642, according to Town Manager Greg Gill.

"We kept it as tight as we could," he said.

In new expenditures, voters at the March 15 meeting will decide whether to approve spending $25,000 for a trailer for the transfer station, $10,000 for a town pickup truck and $4,250 for new signs.

The town also is asking to appropriate $12,500 from its road maintenance and paving capital reserve account for a brine solution system and to add tank systems on three plow trucks. Half of the cost of the system will be split with the Maine Department of Transportation.

Gill said they'll be able to use less salt and sand after it's treated with the brine solution, which helps melt ice and snow on the roads.

The Belgrade Community Center for All Seasons and the recreation programs will see the largest cuts if voters approve the proposed budget. Almost $9,000 is proposed to be cut from the center's nearly $60,000 operating budget, and $2,000 could be cut from programming.

Gill said the town is looking to purchase the additional vehicle because currently it has only a 1.5-ton dump truck for employees to use.

The proposed trailer at the transfer station would have a lunchroom and a restroom for its four employees, Gill said. The $25,000 cost includes installing a well and septic system. Now there's only a portable toilet and no running water at the station, he said.

Gill said part of the reason for the tight budget is that they don't know what will happen at the state level.

He said Belgrade would lose a little more than $200,000 in annual revenue if Gov. Paul LePage's proposed budget, which includes the suspension of the state's revenue-sharing program with municipalities, goes through.

"The feelings amongst us managers is we believe it's going to have a pretty hard (time) to pass," he said. "But you never know, so you have to look at the impact."

Paul Koenig -- 621-5663

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