LIVERMORE FALLS — Selectmen voted Wednesday to hold a special town meeting on Sept. 8 to ask voters if they want to close down the emergency dispatch center and the transfer station within 90 days of the town meeting.

Those were two of a variety of options the board took up to try to lower the tax commitment for 2009-10.

Taxpayers learned Aug. 3 that they could face a $4 hike in the tax rate if something wasn’t done to reduce expenses and increase revenues.

Selectmen voted Wednesday not to accept the assessing agent’s recommendation to reduce Wausau Paper’s personal property valuation by nearly $6 million. They also denied a tax exemption application for an office building being leased by a Farmington hospital from a private owner.

Those decisions mean the town will keep about $94,000 more in revenue from the mill and $4,500 from the office owner, Town Manager James Chaousis said.

The town had been looking at a possible $22.60 per $1,000 of valuation, up nearly $4 from the current $18.80, as of Aug. 3. The 2007-08 tax rate was $20.30 per $1,000.

Even if all the recommended options go through, the tax rate could still be between $20.37 and $22.70. Chaousis gave an overview of possible options developed with Board of Selectmen Chairwoman Louise Chabot and Selectman Alphonso Barker.

“We worked very diligently on this and went through it with a fine-tooth comb,” Chabot said.

Voters will also be asked in September to use $144,708 from surplus to help reduce the tax commitment. That would leave the town $750,000 in surplus and enough to operate the town for 60 days, Chaousis said. The town took money from surplus to lower the tax commitment and selectmen tried to avoid doing so this year, he said.

An upward adjustment to other anticipated revenue would realize $30,000 more, Chaousis said.

Not on the list was the closure of the dispatch center, but after resident Kenny Jacques suggested it and said it was duplicating services. Selectman Bill Demaray motioned to put that option before voters and selectmen approved it. Androscoggin County Communications Center handles emergency 911 calls and transfers them back to the local dispatch center. If townspeople vote to close the center, any savings would not be factored into the tax commitment this year but would go into surplus with the intent of lowering the tax commitment next year, Chabot said.

  He said he would have the projected savings available for town meeting. Voters raised about $152,000 for dispatch this year, not including insurance.

None of the choices was made easily, Chaousis said.

If voters choose to close the transfer station, it would save about $75,000, he said. The town currently has an agreement with Jay to haul solid waste there. If voters approve closing the transfer station and an agreement is reached with Jay, Livermore Falls residents would have to haul their own trash and recyclables to the Jay Transfer Station.

Chaousis said he also checked into whether the school district could adjust its budget. Voters in Livermore and Livermore Falls agreed in June to raise a combined amount of about $167,000 for a state-assessed penalty for rejecting consolidation with Jay. The state postponed the penalty after the vote until next year and that money has been set aside in an account for next year.

Chaousis recommended holding a public hearing on the special town meeting articles at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 8, with the town meeting following that night. Selectmen agreed by consensus that voting would be done by secret ballot.

If anyone has questions they want answered at the town meeting, they should get them to Chaousis beforehand so he can find answers. Questions can be dropped off at the Town Office or e-mailed to [email protected]

[email protected]


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