LIVERMORE FALLS — Selectmen voted Monday to put a $2.2 million budget for 2011-12 before voters at the annual town meeting referendum on Tuesday, June 14. The Budget Committee’s recommendation is for a $1.8 million budget that calls for contracting out both police and public works services.

The selectmen’s spending package represents a $35,459 increase over the current budget while the Budget Committee’s proposal reflects a decrease of $377,421.

Selectmen went through each of the budget articles separately and voted on each recommendation.

The board voted 4-1, with Selectman Alphonso Barker opposed, to recommend a Police Department budget of $336,775, which does not include benefits. The Budget Committee is recommending $400,000, which includes contracting out the service with the Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Department, deputy benefits, fuel and repairs.

Budget Committee Chairman Scott Roberts said members took the Poland police contract it has with Androscoggin County and based their budget on giving Livermore Falls residents the 24-hour-a-day coverage they want.

The proposal would save about $100,000, Budget Committee member Ron Chadwick said.

The budget proposal would cover four full-time officers and some overlap.

Board of Selectman Chairman Bill Demaray said contracting out police services is not on the table. Selectmen voted to keep the town’s police force intact in January and not contract out services.

Roberts said the Budget Committee recommended an amount of money that doesn’t include a police chief or administrative assistant. They made the best recommendation possible using the information they were provided, he said.

Roberts said the committee wants to see its monetary recommendation on the warrant articles.

Demaray said the dollar amount would appear in the town report, but on the warrant article it would appear as a “yes” recommendation from selectmen and a “no” recommendation by the Budget Committee.

Roberts said a question went before voters in June 2010 that allows the Budget Committee’s recommendations to be put on the ballot.

Residents voted last year to adopt a nine-member Budget Committee that is appointed by the selectmen. Former Town Manager Jim Chaousis said last year, prior to the annual town meeting vote, that the Budget Committee had never been formally established. The article voters faced in 2010 was supposed to clear the matter up and provide for the panel’s recommendation to appear on the ballot.

Demaray said there has been confusion about it. The town’s attorney was asked at a February training session if the Budget Committee’s budget figure could be listed. The attorney told selectmen that it is a selectmen’s budget, Demaray said.

Chadwick said that state law clearly mandates what a Budget Committee can do, and it is allowed to have its monetary recommendation on the ballot for the warrant articles.

Demaray said the town’s Budget Committee is an appointed committee and not an elected committee. He said Chadwick was reading from the wrong part of the law.

Roberts asked selectmen to get a written, legal opinion on the issue prior to ballots being made up.

Selectmen also voted 4 to 1, with Barker opposed, to put a $91,105 Fire Department budget to voters. It represents a $3,400 increase over the current budget. The Budget Committee’s recommendation is for $65,555, a decrease of $25,550.

Both selectmen and Budget Committee are recommending $55,000 be put into capital improvements.

However, the recommendations differ.

Selectmen want $30,000 for a police cruiser because a 2004 model has a bad frame and won’t pass inspection. They also put in $25,000 for a Fire Department pickup truck and $25,000 for town building repairs.

Barker opposed the selectmen’s vote.

The Budget Committee wants to put $15,000 in for a cruiser — if voters decide to contract out police service, the town still needs to provide cruisers. Members also want $10,000 put into capital improvements for the Fire Department, $10,000  for town building repairs and $20,000 to put a roof over the compactors at the transfer station.

Selectmen did agree to eliminate $5,000 from the contingency budget to bring it down to $15,000. The Budget Committee is recommending $10,000.

[email protected]

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: