Paris sees savings from mild weather

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PARIS — The first three departments to present figures for the 2011 fiscal year to the Budget Committee are anticipating decreases or minor increases in their numbers.

The budgets for administrative services, the Fire Department, and the Highway Department were presented to the committee on Thursday evening. Town Manager Philip Tarr said the town budget is expected to increase 2.5 percent. That figure takes into account the possible loss of state revenue and a small general fund. That fund is at $668,000, and Tarr said the target amount listed by the state for towns the size of Paris is $900,000.

The administrative services are projected to decrease from $462,198 budgeted last year to $446,550 this year. Much of the decrease comes from salaries and wages, which is going from $267,065 to $241,776. Tarr said this is due to the merging of the assessor and code-enforcement-officer positions and a clerical position, which will remain vacant.

Other areas of this budget are expected to see an increase. Group health insurance is rising from $69,637 to $76,060, an extra $5,000 has been budgeted for assistance to the code enforcement officer and assessor, and a lease and maintenance for a copier will cost $2,500.

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In addition, the legal fund has increased from $8,000 to $15,000. Deputy Treasurer Sharon Gendreau said this increase is due to events in the past year, including the need to get a legal opinion on several matters and former Town Manager Sharon Jackson’s appeal of the termination of her employment contract.

“We’re trying to cover ourselves, I guess, just in case more comes up,” Gendreau said.

The Fire Department is budgeting for an increase of about $10,000, from $221,181 to $231,891. The department is keeping several costs level with last year, including wages and officers’ stipends. However, it anticipates increased costs for diesel fuel and gasoline, as well as vehicle and building maintenance.

The Highway Department expects an increase from $599,885 to $603,607. The department is also planning for an increase in group insurance costs, from $75,824 to $82,224, as well as wage increases from $233,592 to $240,614.

Frank Danforth, foreman of the department, said the he might come in under budget from last year.

“You’re going to notice a lot of things are low because we haven’t had a winter,” he said.

If the Highway Department has a surplus at the end of the fiscal year, that money will go to the general fund.

At the beginning of the meeting, Budget Committee Chairman Forrie Everett said he was resigning, effective immediately, due to a medical problem. Everett said he can no longer live in Maine during the winter because of the issue, and will be relocating to Florida during the colder seasons.

“It’s been a pleasure to serve, and I wish it didn’t have to end this way,” he said.

Vice-Chairman Vic Hodgkins was named the new chairman, while Don Allen was named the new vice-chair.

mlangeveld@sunjournal.com

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