Hearing set for Paris budget

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PARIS — Residents will get a chance to learn about a proposed municipal budget at a public hearing scheduled for this week.

The hearing will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday at the town office. The Budget Committee has recommended a $3,339,903 budget for the 2011 fiscal year. The budget approved at last year’s annual town meeting was $3,252,919.

Administrative costs have decreased, mostly due to the decrease in wages from $265,915 to $239,776. This change reflects the merging of the code enforcement officer and assessor positions. Other areas of this department have increased, including legal fees and group health insurance.

Public safety costs have increased from last year, with the police department’s budget rising from $478,972 to $494,716. The department hopes to give salary increases and hire a new full-time officer, with wages increasing from $317,712 to $320,054 and benefits from $100,495 to $118,472. The fire department’s budget has risen from $221,181 to $231,891, with increased costs for vehicle and building maintenance as well as fuel.

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The highway department budget has increased from $599,885 to $603,607. The department is planning salary increases and the elimination of part-time wages, as well as increased costs for benefits. Wage expenses have decreased from $285,078 to $282,941, while benefits have gone from $108,582 to $115,291. The department also anticipates reduced costs for road maintenance and salt.

The Paris Public Library is reducing its budget from $153,375 to $153,000. It is expecting to eliminate two part-time staff positions and reduce its hours.

The parks and recreation budget is increasing from $24,950 to $31,678, due mostly to the need to replace baseball and softball uniforms. Other budget increases include general assistance, which is rising from $31,151 to $51,175; unemployment, which is going from $5,000 to $18,200; and $50,000 to begin a fund for a revaluation.

Paris has been assessed $227,692 for its share of county taxes. Deputy Treasurer Sharon Gendreau said the Oxford Hills School District budget has not yet been approved, so the town’s share has not been determined. Last year, it was $2,161,040.

mlangeveld@sunjournal.com

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