Budget talks to begin in Livermore

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LIVERMORE — Selectpersons have scheduled a workshop for Wednesday to begin preliminary discussions on a budget for 2012-13. It will start at 6 p.m. Feb. 8 at the town office, town administrative assistant Kurt Schaub said.

The Budget Committee will begin its work in early April, using the selectpersons’ proposal as the foundation, he said Wednesday.

Residents who served on last year’s Budget Committee and are eligible to be appointed this year are Warren Forbes, John Coolidge, Lawrence McNear, Rodney Newman and Ruth Castonguay, he said. Residents interested in serving on the committee should contact the town office at 897-3207.

Schaub said he announced Monday at a board meeting that the town’s share of the 2012 Androscoggin County taxes increased slightly this year.

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The town received notice Monday from the county commissioners that Livermore’s share of county taxes will be $190,265, payable in the fall, he said.

It is an increase of $1,895 from the 2011 county tax bill of $188,370.

He also updated selectpersons on the number of notices of pending foreclosure to be sent for unpaid taxes for 2010.

The notices for 30 accounts, with roughly $21,000 in outstanding taxes, were printed Wednesday and are to be sent out Thursday to property owners, he said.

The town sent out 31 notices in 2011 for $19,800 in unpaid taxes, he said.

Schaub also gave an update on the town’s financial automation project.

Androscoggin Bank installed the town office check reader last week, which allows office staff to scan checks for immediate deposit into the town’s bank account, Schaub said.

“So far, the system is operating well. Androscoggin Bank recommends we hold checks for 30 days before destroying them,” he said. “We will probably hold them for 90 days, which seems to be the standard in other towns.”

The next step is acceptance of credit and debit cards, which will coincide with the ability for residents to pay taxes online.

“On that front, we’re presently working with the bank’s service provider on items such as data transfer and what information will be available for display online,” Schaub said. “One of the considerations is that people will only be able to see current tax amounts due. The screen will contain a disclaimer to the effect that any payment will be applied to the oldest amount due (consistent with the law) and suggesting that people contact the town office for detailed information on their tax account, including past amounts due.”

Selectpersons approved two new financial services in December, including AndroPay, a program that will allow Livermore residents to make tax payments from their home computers using credit and/or debit cards, or a direct debit from a checking account, Schaub said previously.

In another matter, Schaub said the board does not plan to make a comment to the Maine Department of Education on a financial analysis concerning the proposed closure of the high school in Livermore Falls.

If voters in both Livermore and Livermore Falls approve closing the Livermore Falls high school in a future referendum, it is expected to save Regional School Unit 73, which includes Jay, $650,758.79. If both towns reject closing the school, then taxpayers in those towns combined would have to pay the $650,758.79 to keep it open on top of the costs to run the district.

School Superintendent Robert Wall will be at the Feb. 13 selectpersons’ meeting to provide an update on this and other matters affecting the school system. It begins at 6 p.m.

Some good news, Schaub said, is the long awaited new Volvo plow truck is expected to arrive possibly Friday but most likely early next week.

dperry@sunjournal.com

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