RUMFORD — Town Manager Carlo Puiia said Wednesday that he was pleased voters supported the town budget at the polls Tuesday.
Voters gave their approval to a $6.8 million spending plan. They also OK'd social service articles totaling $205,277 for a total budget of $7.05 million, Debbie Laurinaitis, finance director, said early Wednesday afternoon.
“I'm pleased that the people supported it,” Puiia said of the municipal budget, which totals $6,849,258. It is $197,924 more than last year.
Capital improvements totaling $100,000, a $53,900 increase in insurances, and a $20,497 increase for general assistance mostly drove the hike.
Puiia said funding the capital accounts is based on a five-year plan required by the charter, but town meeting voters had underfunded capital improvements for years. This year they decided to restore $350,000, which is $67,675 less than what Puiia recommended.
Still, he said he was OK with the lower amount because “it's more than that's received for the past few years.”
Mostly, the majority went with the Board of Selectmen's recommendations on money articles.
“They went with the lower amounts in most cases,” Puiia said.
For General Government, 639 voters agreed to raise and appropriate $736,877, while 384 wanted the Finance Committee recommendation of $737,899, and 272 chose neither.
For the Police Department, 614 chose the selectmen's recommendation of $805,00, 376 voters chose the committee's recommendation of $827,069, and 301 voters didn't like either recommendation. The requested amount was $834,550.
Of the Fire Department's requested $711,426, 628 voters chose the selectmen's recommendation of $678,000, 389 picked the committee's recommendation of $700,000 and 276 chose neither amount.
For Public Works, 629 voters chose the selectmen's recommendation of $1,035,733, 386 picked the committee's recommendation of $1,073,187, and 244 wanted neither amount.
For General Assistance, 726 voters agreed to raise and appropriate $55,494, which both selectmen and the committee recommended, while 479 voted against the article.
Last year, a majority agreed to raise nothing for General Assistance instead of the recommended $70,021, forcing three special town meetings before agreeing to raise $35,000. As predicted by town officials, that left the welfare budget underfunded, prompting the $55,494 recommended amount this year.
For the Public Service budget, which includes the library, Park Department, and municipal planning, 628 voters approved the selectmen recommendation of $418,350, 379 wanted the committee recommendation of $464,620, and 252 voters wanted neither amount.
By approving the selectmen recommendation, the majority cut $46,942 from the library's requested budget of $246,942. The committee recommended raising $230,000 for the library budget.
Of the initiated articles, 724 voters agreed to raise and appropriate funding for Black Mountain of Maine ski resort, while 551 voted against doing so.
Of those who voted yes, 398 chose the selectmen recommendation of $51,000, whereas 299 chose the committee recommendation of $46,000.
At last year's town meeting, a majority agreed to raise nothing for the ski area. Like the welfare budget, it took three tries before a majority in October OK'd donating $51,000 to the resort.