Saturday, May 25, 2013
EMBDEN -- Voters will decide on the future of the Embden Community Center and whether to use money from the town's surplus account to finish funding a series of capital improvements when they gather Saturday for the annual town meeting.
First Selectman Charles Taylor said selectmen tried to be frugal in planning the upcoming year's budget because they anticipate future losses arising from Gov. Paul LePage's proposed cuts to municipal revenue sharing.
Embden could lose up to $80,000 per year if the budget is accepted in Augusta, he said.
"We're taking more of a scaled-back approach to things. The plan is to sit back and take care of the necessities," Taylor said.
Selectmen have proposed a $903,120 budget, a 1.78 percent increase over the current year's, although there are no major changes to individual budget items. Taylor said the slight increase will not affect local property taxes because the extra money will come from surplus and excise taxes.
Selectmen also are proposing collecting property taxes in two equal installments, in July and November, in order to save the town money and ease the burden for taxpayers. Taylor said the proposal, which will be voted on at the meeting, would allow the town to get some money earlier and reduce borrowing costs to pay bills.
The town plans to tie up loose ends this year, including a proposed dam on Embden Pond that was approved last year. Construction wasn't started because the water levels were too high this winter, but Taylor said he would like to see the project completed this summer.
Selectmen are asking for $100,000 to come from surplus to cover the project's cost, which Taylor said should be about $60,000.
The extra $40,000 would help finish two other projects that were initiated last year -- updates to the community center heating system and the extermination of bats in the historic Embden Town House -- and prevent selectmen from having to call a special town meeting if the dam project costs more.
Also Saturday, voters will be asked to consider whether the Embden Community Center should continue to be managed by the Embden Community Club. A two-year period in which the town examined whether the club was a cost-prohibitive entity is up and Taylor said the club contributed about $13,000 to the town's general fund this year. Selectmen are recommending that the club continue to operate.
Elections are set for 8 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Town Office. There are no contested races.
Rachel Ohm -- 612-2368