‘Perfect storm’ hitting Norway, manager says

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NORWAY — Town Manager David Holt told selectmen Thursday that department heads have been asked to plan for cuts of at least 10 percent in the next fiscal year.

Holt said the town will have to cut spending or raise taxes to cover lost revenue proposed in Gov. Paul LePage’s budget.

“The perfect storm is hitting Norway,” he said.

According to Holt, Norway would lose $250,000 in state revenue sharing; $113,472 from the Homestead Exemption; and $80,000 in personal property taxes. Coupled with a $285,177 projected increase in the SAD 17 budget, the first year impact on the town’s budget could be much as $729,000.

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The number does not include the loss of truck excise taxes proposed by the LePage administration.

The governor’s proposal to eliminate the tax and rent refund program for people under 65 years old, as well as capping General Assistance will also cause problems, he said. He noted that liens and foreclosures in Norway have doubled in each of the last two years.

Holt said he has met with department heads and offered two options: either each department head offers cuts of 10 percent or he could “cherry pick” items out of the budget.

He said he has spoken to two employees about possible job reductions and to town hall staff about possibly reducing hours.

“These are difficult human issues,” he said.

Ultimately, the Board of Selectmen and voters will have the final say on the budget.

Board Chairman Russ Newcomb said the town must “prepare for the worst.”

“I don’t know what else we can do,” Newcomb said.

ldixon@sunjournal.com

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