$5.9M budget up for review

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JAY – Selectmen and the Budget Committee will review a proposed 2007-2008 municipal spending package of $5.9 million Tuesday and Wednesday.

Budget talks begin after the 6 p.m. selectmen’s meeting Tuesday, at the Jay Middle School cafeteria. Up for discussion that evening are budgets for library, building and grounds, town government, professional services, insurance, ambulance, donations, pulp and paper museum, revenues and a few other accounts.

At 6 p.m. Wednesday, budget talks will resume at the same place with sewer, dispatch, solid waste, police, fire, highway and tennis courts.

Town Manager Ruth Marden’s proposal includes $200,250 for dispatch, which will go before voters on a separate warrant article in April. If voters reject the article, emergency dispatch services will go to Franklin County Sheriff’s Department, and the budget would reflect a $200,250 decrease. If they say “yes” to the article, dispatch services will stay in Jay and that money will be kept in the budget, Marden said.

The police budget without dispatch is proposed at $720,524. The existing police budget including dispatch is $914,433.

Marden said she also added $20,000 more to the insurance line, which includes property, casualty and unemployment, to cover possible unemployment claims if voters decide to do away with dispatch services.

The proposed waste disposal budget at $989,138 is $57,892 less than the current budget.

It went down even though there was no change in the fuel line because coordinator Bob Sanders didn’t have to add more for fuel due to the new waste oil burner heating system and he didn’t add to his capital reserve fund this year, Marden said.

The highway budget proposed at $1.3 million is $62,500 less than the existing budget as well.

“I added another paving line with $150,000 because my budget went down and our paving program is not keeping pace with what needs to be done. I put savings into the paving line to increase the program,” Marden said.

Selectmen may not keep it there, she said, but it would be a good start.

She left the donation requests alone and put them on the budget as requested for a total of $38,244, which is up from the current $29,133. Selectmen will make the decision on those, she said.

She also left the amount to go into building reserve account for a new municipal office up to the board, she said.

The tennis courts are in very bad shape, Marden said, so she put in $76,600 for that.

Marden also said she adjusted her budget last week after Financial Director Linda Brundage informed her that she would be retiring at the end of September. So she included a few weeks of training.

Assistant Financial Director/Treasurer Lisa Bryant, who works along side Brundage and handles payroll and human services, will move up to take Brundage’s position, Marden said.

“I have not had the opportunity to firm up what we’re going to do over there,” she said. “We have time on our side.”

Once the budget process is concluded, they’ll sit down and make those plans, she said.

“These ladies do the work comparable of 3 positions in other municipalities,” Marden said. “Whoever comes into the position will have some mighty big shoes to fill. We want to take our time and do it right.”

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