New Gloucester budget review begins

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NEW GLOUCESTER – Selectmen on Monday night began reviewing the proposed $2,918,431 municipal budget that includes 4 percent raises for employees and money for a full-time fire/rescue chief.

Revenues to offset taxes are down, roughly 50 percent in building fees, plumbing permits and subdivision review fees, and roughly 17 percent in state revenue sharing. Overall revenues are down to $1,922,854 from $2,727,991 collected this fiscal year.

The budget calls for a 4 percent increase for employee wages, which includes a cost of living adjustment and a portion for merit increase.

The Fire Department budget increase of 38.9 percent includes funding a full-time fire/rescue chief, fire-rescue per-call compensation and a 40-hour-per-week fire-rescue station employee for daytime coverage.

There is also money in the budget for an assistant town planner.

The undesignated fund balance calls for using up to $100,000 to offset the amount of taxes to finance town operations.

Except for capital expenditures, no increase is expected in the tax rate.

Thirty-two projects under Capital Improvement Planning are proposed. The largest is a new fire-rescue station at $2.6 million, using $2.3 million from the undesignated fund balance, $200,000 from the Pineland Tax Increment Financing District and $168,000 in capital reserve.

In addition, $100,000 would be added to a capital reserve for a new public works building.

Preliminary engineering for an Upper Village public water supply would use $350,000 from the Pineland TIF fund.

And, $150,000 would be used for village plans, $575,000 for reconstruction of the Woodman Road, plus money for upgrades to the fairgrounds and transfer station projects.

New Gloucester’s assessed value increased to $440 million, up $15 million from last year.

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