Norway board approves new surplus funds policy

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NORWAY — The Board of Selectmen voted unanimously Thursday evening to approve a new policy that would require the town to set enough undesignated funds to operate the town for two months.

Town Manager David Holt said the town used to require the undesignated fund balance to have enough money to operate the town for three months, which was recommended by auditors.

However, at the board’s March 16 meeting, Holt said Norway has “done well” by keeping a “larger surplus than most surrounding towns,” and as a result, “we’re getting to the time when policies – like the undesignated fund balance policy we have now – need to be updated.”

Holt said, “Norway is different than many other communities” because the town’s biggest taxpayer, Central Maine Power, “pays less than 2 percent of our taxes.”

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“If we lost Central Maine Power, we’d still be collecting taxes at a pretty good clip,” Holt said.

Selectman Thomas Curtis, who asked the board on March 16 to postpone the vote until he had more time to read through the policy, said Thursday evening that he was “all for it.”

“After reading through it, I certainly believe that two months (of the town’s operation) is more than enough,” he said.

In other business, the board voted to accept a reimbursement of $2,773.60 from the state. The money will be placed back in the town’s tree account, Holt said.

“You may remember (tree warden and forester) Tish Carr and Jean Federico with the Oxford County Soil & Water Conservation District coming in and explaining work they were doing with ash trees,” Holt told the board. “They said they were taking inventory of the ash trees in town. They got a grant to further study them, and the town contributed to the upfront cost.”

Holt said the “work has progressed well.”

“After we sent a progress billing to the Department of Conservation, they reimbursed us,” Holt said.

mdaigle@sunmediagroup.net

An ash tree stands in front of a home on Paris Hill in Paris. The Norway Board of Selectmen voted Thursday to accept a reimbursement of $2,773.60 from the state related to Norway tree warden Tish Carr’s effort to document ash trees.

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