MECHANIC FALLS – Town employees will continue working fewer hours through the end of June but will return to normal schedules July 1.

Since the beginning of February, all employees have been taking the equivalent of two furlough days per month to make up for a revenue shortfall.

Town Manager John Hawley said Monday night that by having employees work four fewer hours per week the town has saved more than $46,000 to date.

That amount, plus what will be saved by continuing reduced hours through June, may not entirely make up for the cuts the state made in municipal revenue sharing and for lower than anticipated vehicle excise tax receipts.

“We are not even close to spending what was allocated,” Hawley said. “However, the gap between our expenditures and revenues will probably still need a withdrawal from the fund balance to offset the revenue shortfall.”

While the council agreed with the proposal that full-time town employees return to 40-hour work weeks when the new fiscal year starts, it left the decision on Town Office hours for Hawley to work out with staff.

Closed Wednesdays since the first of February, the Town Office has been open from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. the other four days.

After a public hearing on whether to prohibit parking on both sides of Fifth Avenue, which drew virtually all of the residents of that street, the Town Council voted Monday night to leave matters as they are with parking prohibited on only one side of the street.

Councilor Dan Blanchard noted that after resident Mike Needham had brought the issue before the council at its May meeting, residents of Fifth Avenue had gotten together on their own and, as evidenced by comments Monday night, determined that a total ban on street parking was not necessary and that they could work things out for themselves.

In other business, the council:

• Agreed to purchase an International dump truck from Morrison & Sylvester of Auburn with plow equipment provided by Tenco of Berwick, for a total bid price of $105,048.

• Agreed to sign a three-year contract with Mid-Maine Waste Action Corp. of Auburn.

• Authorized Hawley to contract with forester Fred Huntress to prepare a plan for harvesting trees on town land at the transfer station.

• Directed Hawley to begin a feasibility study of whether the town should take over the Mechanic Falls Sanitary District, creating a unified town water and sewer department.

• Elected Dan Blanchard to serve as council chairman and Roger Guptill to serve as council vice chairman for the year July 1, 2009, to June 30, 2010.


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