New Gloucester spending plan up 18 percent

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NEW GLOUCESTER – Voters face a budget that’s 18 percent higher than this year when they gather for the annual town meeting at 7 p.m. May 1 at the Memorial School on Route 231.

Voters will get a 34-article warrant that reflects a municipal budget request of $3,778,952. With estimated revenues of $2,303,375, the amount to be raised by taxes is $870,557 if voters approve the spending package.

Town Manager Rosemary Kulow said, “With fixed costs rising out of control, pressures for service increasing in our growing community and a tax cap to contend with, we are forced to utilize the town’s undesignated fund balance more than usual.”

Kulow said the total municipal budget for fiscal year 2007 is 18.1 percent, or $654,910, more than spending in fiscal year 2006. An 11 percent increase in total town valuation, a 5 percent increase in the county budget and no increase in the SAD 15 proposed budget would bring New Gloucester’s tax rate down to close to $9 per $1,000 of assessed property value.

Article 1 seeks approval to spend $18,800 for selectmen; $251,971 for administration; $69,150 for tax assessment; $51,765 for code enforcement and $25,000 for legal services.

Article 2 requests $21,800 for general assistance; $1,400 for health officer; $12,250 for animal control; $9,000 for cemeteries; and $14,060 for interagency community support.

Article 3 seeks $137,600 for the Fire and Rescue services; $2,550 for emergency management; $26,000 for public safety dispatch.

The highway department is seeking approval to spend $635,555; paving at $164,400; solid waste at $188,610.

Voters will be asked to appropriate $265,000 from the undesignated fund balance for public works capital reserve accounts.

Voters will be asked to spend $500,000 from the capital reserve and taxation for six public works capital improvements. They include the purchase of a plow/dump truck at $150,000; Woodman Road reconstruction at $200,000; $25,000 for a communication system; $25,000 for garage upgrade, $80,000 for a backhoe and $20,000 for a universal waste storage shed.

In addition, $300,000 is sought from capital reserves to perform engineering work for a future fire-rescue station.

Voters will be asked to authorize selectmen to sell and dispose of nine foreclosed properties for nonpayment of taxes.

A zoning ordinance amendment will include a fire protection requirement for subdivisions.

A zoning amendment will allow accessory apartments and exclude in-law apartments, townwide. No grandfathering of in-law apartment is included in the amendment change.

If the ordinance is approved all residential property except mobile homes are eligible to have an accessory apartment in all zones throughout the town subject to site plan review and approval by the Planning Board. The apartment size is based on the living square foot area of the prime residence.

An updated Animal Control Ordinance is seeking voter approval.

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