MECHANIC FALLS – Voters will assemble at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 16, at the gymnasium in the Mechanic Falls Municipal Building to set next year’s municipal budget.

Town officials, members of the Town Council and the Budget Committee made it their goal to present voters with a proposed budget that doesn’t raise property taxes one penny.

Voters will act on spending proposals totaling a little more than $2 million.

Approximately half that amount will have to be raised by local property taxes – the same amount as was raised this year.

“Our biggest challenge was to maintain services in a reduced revenue environment. In the end we managed to keep jobs and services intact,” Town Manager John Hawley said.

Last week, a month after the official town meeting warrant was posted, it was back to the drawing board to cut another $36,000 in response to the latest news from Augusta of further reductions in revenue-sharing funds going to towns.

The council and Budget Committee were able to trim $24,000 by eliminating all raises and overtime for town employees, across the board, and managed to find another $12,000 in smaller increments, like $500 from the library’s book-purchasing fund.

At Saturday’ town meeting, voters will hear the revised recommendations for a number of accounts.

Hawley noted that, try as they might, it was inevitable that some accounts in the recommended budget would have to show increases.

The amount requested for public works is up by about $30,000, primarily to cover an increase in the price for road salt and to deal with the added expense of hauling snow away from the downtown. Last winter, the Department of Environmental Protection found fault with the town for piling snow within 100 feet of the Little Androscoggin River.

At the conclusion of the business portion of the town meeting, voting booths will be open in the gymnasium at the Mechanic Falls Municipal Building for four hours or until 6 p.m., whichever is later, for town elections.

There are no contested races for the three positions up for a vote.

Councilor Nancy Richard is running unopposed for a three-year term.

Sanitary district trustees Wayne Marquis and Randy Plummer are likewise unopposed as they seek new three-year terms.

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