MINOT — Selectman Eda Tripp told the board Monday night that town finances are in a bit of a squeeze and the next couple of months will tell whether the town should turn to the bank for a tax anticipation note to see it through the budget year.

“Cash flow is a problem. We are not in good shape, but we’re not in trouble yet, either,” Tripp said.

Tripp noted that revenues from virtually all of the town’s non-property-tax revenue sources are coming in under projection:

Thanks to low interest rates, the amount of interest the town makes on its accounts is down.

Cars aren’t selling, so excise tax collections are down.

The recyclables market has collapsed, so there is no money coming back from Mid-Maine Waste Action Corp.

With property development down, there are no planning board fees.

State revenue sharing has been cut.

“Money that is coming in from the state is slow,” Tripp said. “I don’t think Augusta knows how towns operate.”

 
She further pointed out that the local property taxpayers’ burden will only increase with the passage of recent legislation that makes further cuts to municipal revenue sharing, the Homestead Exemption and Circuit Breaker benefits, and reduces Tree Growth reimbursements. 

“And there will be huge cuts in school subsidy, as well,” Tripp said. “It makes it very difficult for towns trying to keep property taxes down.”

Selectmen will review the town’s cash flow situation monthly.

In other business, selectmen met with Shaw Hill Road resident Reginald Garrison, who wanted his July 15 deadline to complete work on his failed septic system extended another week.

Garrison and his contractor, Bill Dyer, said the weather had been most uncooperative and an extra week was needed. Dyer said he would guarantee the septic bed would be in by July 22.

Selectmen, noting that Garrison’s septic system has been in failure since August 2005, were reluctant to issue yet another extension, but in the end Selectman Dean Campbell advised Garrison that the board expects the entire system, not just the bed, to be up and running by July 22.

Town Administrator Arlan Saunders reported that paving on Pottle Hill Road has been completed and, as the overall paving program came in under budget, it appears the town will be able to do a little work on the hill on Jackass Annie Road late this summer. 

Fire Chief Steve French reported that, thanks to Saunders’ good work, the application for a fire station grant through the federal economic stimulus program has been submitted before the July 10 deadline. Saunders said the town should know by December whether it would receive a fire station grant.


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