PARIS — Selectmen voted 3-0 Thursday to recommend the $3.94 million municipal spending plan proposed by the Budget Committee, but expressed their reservations about it. The amount is $500,000 more than this year.
“I will vote for it, but with a lot of reservations,” Selectman Ted Kurtz said.
The 2012-13 budget calls for taking money from reserve accounts while raising the tax rate by more than $1. It includes capital investments for a new police cruiser and a sidewalk machine.
“We've virtually wiped out every reserve fund we have,” Kurtz said. Even then, the mill rate will increase at least $1.20, if the town follows the Budget Committee's recommendation to spend $400,000 on road repairs. If voters choose the $510,000 option from the road improvement plan, the mill rate could increase by $1.70, or about $170 for a $100,000 home, he said.
Selectman Jean Smart agreed, having put forth similar concerns at the April 23 board meeting. She said drawing from reserves to keep spending while avoiding raising taxes was a mistake. “At some point, the chicken's coming home to roost.”
“Next year, we won't have the reserves we had this year,” Chairman Bob Kirchherr said. “Some difficult decisions will have to be made.”
The board removed $12,500 for new equipment for the Parks and Recreation Department.
A public hearing on the 2012-13 budget is set for 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 8, at the Paris Town Office.
Selectmen agreed to allow residents to decide whether to approve a one-year trial police department merger with Norway at the June 16 town meeting without a secret ballot vote. Norway is using a secret ballot, but Paris selectmen decided holding the vote at town meeting will allow residents to discuss it.