February 14, 2013

Vassalboro selectmen get a first look at proposed budget

Town Manager Mary Sabins has a “Plan B” budget if the state cuts funding to cities and towns

By Susan M. Cover scover@mainetoday.com
State House Bureau

VASSALBORO — Selectmen got their first look at the proposed budget Thursday, which includes a request to put a new roof on the town office.

In a memo to selectmen, Town Manager Mary Sabins wrote that she did not factor in cuts to revenue sharing proposed by Gov. Paul LePage. Her budget, which will be formally reviewed by selectmen on Feb. 22, is $59,035 more than the current budget of $1.7 million.

Sabins said the numbers are likely to change once selectmen and the town budget committee have a chance to review her proposal.

She notes in the memo that she is prepared with a “Plan B” budget if the state cuts funding to cities and towns. Her backup budget would call for a 20 percent reduction in staff wages and hours, elimination of the recreation program, elimination of outside agency contributions, and other cuts.

But, unless the Legislature actually approves those cuts, Sabins is proceeding as if funding will continue at a similar level.

“Despite all of the talk coming from the governor’s office regarding the elimination of state revenue sharing and homestead exemption, I have prepared this budget as we have always done, since we are uncertain at this point if the elimination of those revenues will actually happen,” she wrote.

The budget she’s proposing includes $35,000 to replace the roof at the town office and $10,500 to replace the 8-year-old office computer system. It would increase town staff salaries by a combined $25,345, which is an effort on the town’s part to bring the salaries more in line with what’s typical in other similar towns, Sabins said.

Sabins’ salary would increase by $2,000, bringing the total to $69,000.

At the fire department, Fire Chief Eric Rowe said he will likely ask for about $20,000 to replace leaking windows and siding at the station that’s across from the town office. That figure was not included in Sabins’ proposed budget because she had yet to confirm it with the fire department.

Rowe said the windows leak when it rains, and he described the siding as “split and cracked.”

Sabins will go over the proposed budget with selectmen at 9 a.m. Friday, Feb. 22, at the town office.

“As you know, I view these proposed budget amounts as a starting point for our discussion and I am always open to suggestions for amendments,” she wrote.

Susan Cover — 621-5643

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