SABATTUS — The town took a “critical needs only” approach to budgeting, according to Town Manager Andrew Gilmore, with selectmen proposing a 1.73 percent increase in the municipal budget for next year.

Like many municipalities, though, the matter of its tax rate will remain a question mark even after Saturday’s town meeting.

The current tax rate is $14.75. As proposed, the school budget would add $1.62, Gilmore said. If the state makes good on efforts to cut revenue sharing, that could add another $1.

The figures for new tax bills won’t become clearer until later this summer.

“We did not anticipate massive cuts or spikes in the mil rate because what the state may or may not do has been all over the board,” Gilmore said.

Selectmen have recommended a municipal budget of $2,268,870, 1.73 percent more than the current year, and a capital budget of $317,301 to take effect July 1.


The Budget Committee recommends a $2,261,515 municipal budget, 1.4 percent more than this year, and a capital budget of $290,725.

The difference between capital budgets amounts to a new police cruiser, Gilmore said. Selectmen favor paying for one outright; Budget Committee members want it spread over three years.

None of the budgets cut or add personnel.

Included in the 54-article warrant up for a vote at 9 a.m. Saturday in the Oak Hill Middle School gym:

* A proposed increase in the Police Department budget from $420,609 to $443,472. Half of that increase is payroll and half reimbursing educational costs, Gilmore said.

* The Sabattus Veterans Memorial Park Committee asked for $1,500 in seed money to fundraise for site work and a new monument in the proposed park.


* The Transfer Station budget is proposed at $177,248, down $7,000, savings from rebidding contracts, Gilmore said.

* The Budget Committee and selectmen split on the Emergency First Responders Program. A majority of selectmen support a $7,000 budget that includes $3,000 in compensation for emergency medical technicians responding to calls in town. EMTs have offered their services for free for the first 18 months of the program. This budget would pay them $10 per call.

The Budget Committee unanimously opposed funding the program.

* Dispatch and E911 charges would increase from $32,180 to $53,250 in the proposed budget. Included in that is a new, roughly $10,000 charge for E911 services from the county and costs associated with moving dispatch to Lisbon, Gilmore said.

* A new ordinance would impose a penalty of $250 to $500 for lighting fireworks on Class 4 and 5 fire danger days.

Once a budget is passed by the town, state, and school, Gilmore said he’ll sit down with selectmen and discuss what to do about any potential shortfall: Raise the tax rate, make steep cuts or a blend of both.

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