PARIS — The Budget Committee approved a $3.4 million budget Thursday to be recommended at town meeting in June.

The committee also voted to move the public hearing on the budget to April 28, because the previous date, April 22, is Good Friday.

Before finalizing the budget recommendation, however, the committee had a few loose ends to deal with. Rises in animal-control and mowing costs dominated much of the discussion. Committee members didn’t want to raise the budget or rely on a projected increase in revenue from taxpayers.

Committee Chairman Vic Hodgkins said he didn’t want a “backdoor tax increase.” He hoped the town could use any increased revenue to offset increases to Paris’ SAD 17 and Oxford County tax commitments.

In the end, the committee voted to allocate $10,000 from the Highway Department budget for mowing. Town Manager Phil Tarr said he would send out a request for bids to have a private landscaping firm mow the town’s parks and cemetery.

They also voted to reallocate $5,000 that was funded for road salt to fully commit $50,000 per year to the revaluation fund, lowering the road salt budget from $60,000 to $55,000. Hodgkins recommended taking from the salt fund because the town ended the winter with surplus salt.

At the beginning of the meeting, Hodgkins addressed concerns from selectmen and townspeople about the public hearing on the budget and citizens’ ability to request changes before town meeting.

He called the concern “good news” because it meant people are interested in the budget. He pointed out that there were two open slots on the Budget Committee for residents interested in joining.

Committee member Barbara Payne noted that “the Budget Committee does not rule. It recommends.” Residents are free to vote for changes at town meeting.

Earlier on Thursday, Tarr said Selectman Ted Kurtz was wrong in his figures when he said the town was raising the budget. The copy Kurtz was using, Tarr said, didn’t take into account an extra $41,000 voters approved at a special town meeting in July 2010.

The public hearing on the budget is set for 7 p.m. Thursday, April 28, at the Town Office.

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