Increase this year set at 7.71 percent.

NORWAY – Town Manager David Holt said Thursday that he isn’t pleased with his 2004 town budget.

He cut more from the town budget than he wanted to and still could not keep the increase below 7.5 percent.

Including the SAD 17 appropriation of $2,511,884 and county appropriation of $198,527 residents will be asked to raise a total of $6,082,161.

The town’s portion of $3,373,750 is a 7.71 percent increase from 2003.

“I was foolish to criticize the school district when I found out their budget went up 5 percent,” Holt told selectmen. “The increase (7.71 percent) is more than I’m comfortable with and I had to make recommendations that I’m not comfortable with.”

He listed some of the costs driving taxes up:

• $47,000 in employee benefits to fund anticipated increase in health insurance

• $16,500 for the fire department – chief asked for $28,390

• $13,290 for hydrant rental from an expected rate adjustment sought by water district

• $41,000 for Norway-Paris Solid Waste (Frost Hill closure)

• $10,000 for the library

• $7,200 to fund the repair and maintenance of the municipal complex

• $10,280 to fund proposed new debt for repairs and expansion at the town garage

While the costs were increasing, the revenue was tending to go down.

Holt said that the state told him not to increase the amount of revenue sharing from last year’s total.

He said interest income on town investments of its general fund and reserve accounts is at the lowest rate in many years.

He said he even has a feeling that the excise taxes, which are the second largest source of income for Norway, will not increase.

And that the Department of Transportation told him not to expect the $12,000 it had been receiving from the Urban-Rural Initiative Program.

He said his budget, if approved, would cut out a halt-time accounting position at the town office; leave vacant a full-time police position; and not fill a highway position that he had promised to fill.

The budget committee, down to nine people form the usual 25 people, will now review Holt’s budget.

Holt said the final version should be finished by mid-May to be printed in time for the June town meeting.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.