Town proposes $2 million budget for first time

by Geoff Fox

Town officials looked at the fiscal year 2019 budget for the first time last Wednesday, June 20, in a public hearing during the town meeting.

Town Manager David Smith prepared the budget, which has a proposed total operating budget of $2,040,969 for the fiscal year that starts July 1.

The draft budget includes expenditure increases in the water, wastewater, and sanitation departments.

The Water Department budget is up $13,000 this year to $349,450. Wastewater is up $11,000 in 2019 to $338,250 compared to $327,250 last year. Sanitation expenses are expected to rise to $173,392, up from last year’s $169,542.

More revenue is expected this year due to a growing property value base.

Public safety expenses are expected to drop to $58,000, down more than $40,000 from last year’s budget line of $89,7000.

The public works line item is expected to grow from $71,900 to $92,900 in the coming fiscal year.

Smith said there is money budgeted for the demolition of the old library – the cost of which fell to the town.

The proposed budget also estimates $180,000 in revenue from Harvest, the medical cannabis company operating at the town-owned industrial complex.

Smith said this revenue will be available to the town “in some part or all” pending the outcome of a meeting Mayor Ralph Salvagno was to have with Harvest officials.

“There will be additional funds to do some things with this year,” Smith said.

Councilman Levi Little did note that there was $4,000 budgeted as a donation to the Hancock Rescue Squad which shouldn’t be included, as the funds for the next three years had already been given toward new squad equipment.

Smith said he would make that change to the proposed budget.

Town officials will hold further meetings about the budget before adopting it formally in a council meeting.