OTISFIELD – The finance committee reviewed the budget articles for the upcoming town meeting during a hearing held Wednesday night.

The total proposed operational budget for the town is $1,262,682. The tax rate, based on a 2007 town valuation of $256,169,055, will be $10.86 per $1,000 if the financial articles are approved. According to Joanie Jacobs, chairman of the committee, the municipal valuation is expected to increase, and therefore lower the tax rate.

The committee said there is nothing in the budget that should put the town over LD1, which is the state law dictating the maximum amount the town can raise through taxes before incurring a state penalty. Jacobs said the budget is about $20,000 away from that point.

Selectman Hal Ferguson said the salaries of town officials have been increased by 3 to 4 percent. The Fire Department’s budget has decreased, as some of its maintenance costs were transferred into the fund for municipal buildings and grounds.

Otisfield will not be appropriating any money for the Growth Council of Oxford Hills or Paris-based Community Concepts. The town invested almost $192,000 in a failed technology park, a project spearheaded by the Growth Council.

“We’ve given them enough money,” Jacobs said.

Selectman Mark Cyr said the town is hoping to get back some of the investment when the Growth Council sells the land where the tech park was supposed to be.

“We’re hoping to recoup a significant amount of our money,” he said.

Cyr said the omission of the Growth Council and Community Concepts from the budget is a result of the town opting out of a proposed joint venture by the organizations.

The town meeting is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 23, at the Otisfield Community School.

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