GREENE – Residents voted 17-9 Monday night to allow town officials to take surplus money from some departments to cover overdrafts in others.

The Board of Selectmen called the special town meeting to get authorization to use $25,000 to cover utilities, road maintenance, administrative budget departments and the transfer station until January.

“The main cause of these shortfalls is due to growth pains,” Town Manager Stephen Eldridge said. “With the growth Greene is seeing, now it is hard to pin everything down to a dollar amount.”

Eldridge said historically the town has used its surplus to help offset the tax rate, which has remained the same for the last two years. “By doing this we dwindle away our surplus, making it more difficult to operate (the town) until we get our taxes in,” he said.

Some people said the board should be able to transfer money in accounts to compensate for underestimates, but others were disgruntled by the situation.

“Our taxes are low here in this town in terms of Androscoggin County,” board member Timothy Doyle said. “The reason they are is that I think the board of selectmen, the budget committee, the town manager and the employee staff, all do a good job managing the taxpayers’ dollars. We don’t ask for more money than we need.”

He said the town could have over-budgeted certain accounts, then transferred all overage into surplus at the end of the year, but instead it chose to be as frugal as possible.

Budget Committee member Brenda Theriault said there was no scare tactic intended, and that situations like this sometimes occur. “We don’t offer up numbers to scare anyone. We can’t always be right on and being off this little on the course of a year is minimal,” she said.

She said the town was only asking to move unused money to help balance those areas that were overrun. “It is something you would do in your own household budget if you had to do it,” she said.

“We have been discussing this since August,” Eldridge said. “This should not have been a surprise to anyone. The figures we’ve asked for are not suggestions – they are necessities to run our town.”

Without that dollar amount, Chairman Ron Grant said the transfer station would be shut down and road grading would cease until the new year.


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