OTISFIELD — Otisfield’s Finance Committee presented the town’s 2022-2023 budget of $2,266,392 at a public hearing last Thursday. Spending is expected to rise significantly next year, mostly due to increases in employee benefits and salaries, fuel and utilities and service contracts. About a half dozen townspeople attended the hearing.

Otisfield Finance Committee members Sarah Burnham (left) and Adam Grant discuss next year’s budget during a public hearing on May 26. Nicole Carter / Advertiser Democrat

Overall, next year Otisfield is budgeting $248,000 more to operate the town than it did this year. Public works accounts for $179,000, or 42%  of that.

The current year’s public works budget was offset by a transfer of $100,000 from the Sybil Lamb Trust Fund, which will not be done next year. Along with compensation, materials and fuel account for almost all other increases to public works.

The budget includes an average of seven percent raises across the board for all town employees. There was push back from some attending the hearing about higher salaries.

“I’m not saying they don’t deserve it, but inflation is also hitting us that are paying those increases,” stated one tax-payer.

Select Board Chairman and Finance Committee member Hal Ferguson acknowledged the pain for inflation is felt by all, adding that the overall cost-of-living is projected to be 8.3% and this year employee raises were three to four percent.


“If you have good employees, you need to take care of them,” Ferguson said in summary.

Employee benefits, an area the finance committee has no control over, are expected to increase by $49,160, or 25%, during the next fiscal year.

Contractual services will increase by $14,000. The municipal software version Otisfield has is no longer viable and it will cost $7,400 to upgrade. The town will also pay $5,000 more next year for financial auditing, but that hit is due to the auditor failing to invoice the town for two billing cycles. The town’s solid waste expenses will also increase by $20,000, again due to increased fuel prices and tipping fees.

The finance committee did not include Otisfield’s share of Maine Administrative School District 17’s expected 2022-2023 budget, which will be voted on at a June 14 referendum district wide. But according to figures provided by SAD 17 during its budget hearing last month, Otisfield’s costs are expected to decrease by about $54,000.

Ferguson confirmed that Otisfield’s mill rate will not be set until SAD 17’s budget is approved.

There will be an article added to the town meeting warrant that gives the select board authority to waive automatic property foreclosures. This measure will relieve the town from having to take ownership of abandoned properties like uninhabitable mobile homes and being responsible for property cleanup. Many towns have already adopted the foreclosure waiver, in accordance with state statute.


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