MONMOUTH — Julie Sawtelle, director of Cumston Public Library in Monmouth, says the facility is “finally getting back into programming in a big way.”

Sawtelle offered her assessment last Wednesday while reviewing the proposed $84,005 budget for the library, which is up $3,451 from current spending.

Except for a 5% cost-of-living pay increase for Sawtelle and library workers, the proposed 2022-23 budget is largely unchanged from 2021-22. The increase would add $2,286 to full-time salaries and $1,165 to part-time wages.

“In addition to providing free Wi-Fi, printing, copying, books, movies and magazines, we’re finally getting back into programming in a big way,” Sawtelle said.

She said the library has a monthly live event with therapy dogs for children and adults and a monthly book sale. It is also providing take-and-make craft kits for children that are focusing on virtual programming until warmer weather returns.

The library’s budget review came as municipal officials Wednesday began their assessment of the proposed budgets for Cumston Hall, building maintenance, debt service and elected officials. Most budgets are not expected to change from current spending, except for the cost-of-living adjustments and slight increases to heating and electric costs.


Town Manager Justin Poirier spoke Wednesday on behalf of Cumston Hall Facilities Manager Dennis Price, who was unable to attend the meeting. Poirier said the only significant change to the facility’s proposed budget was for tools and supplies for the building.

Poirier said Price has cobbled together miscellaneous tools and items needed for the building, such as hammers or paint brushes, sometimes buying them with his own money or bringing them from his home.

“(Price) talked about this at our last Cumston Hall trustee meeting,” said Kristin Sanborn, a member of the Monmouth Select Board. “A lot of the stuff, like power tools, he moved to Public Works because it was stuff he was never going to dive into, but I think this was for everyday, run-of-the-mill stuff that wasn’t covered through general maintenance, like cleaning supplies and odds and ends.”

The proposed Cumston Hall budget is slightly less than current spending, even with the addition of $2,000 for tools and other supplies.

Poirier said the proposed Town Office budget for the upcoming fiscal year has been merged with the building maintenance department because the town now owns the building at 117 Academy Road, where the former middle school and Monmouth Academy were located. The town now holds meetings there.

“If we centralize it and one particular building has an issue, we kind of have a bigger pot that we can draw from to try to fix unexpected issues,” Poirier said. “So I was proposing that we move the Town Hall right into the building maintenance budget and consolidate it all under one department.”

When adding the 2021-22 budgets for the Town Hall and building maintenance, the proposal for the combined department for 2022-23 is about the same, with an increase of less than $2,000.

Debt service for 2022-23 is expected to increase about $61,000, primarily due to a bond issued for the renovation of Monmouth Academy.

The budget for elected officials is proposed to increase about $500, including $250 for training and about $250 for dues paid the Maine Municipal Association.

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