Fri, Oct 31, 2014 ●
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Town employees' jobs targeted in preliminary Brunswick budget

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Town employees' jobs targeted in preliminary Brunswick budget

BRUNSWICK — Filling a projected $1.97 million budget gap could cost six municipal employees their jobs, according to Town Manager Gary Brown.

Brown, acting on a Town Council mandate to prepare four spending scenarios, began notifying employees last week. In addition to the six positions targeted in Brown's initial budget proposal, several others would be left vacant and two other town employees would be reassigned.

The six layoffs could include a parking enforcement officer, an administrative secretary in the Police Department, an administrative assistant in codes enforcement, the natural resources planner, the deputy director of public works and a clerk in the assessing department.

Brown said eliminating the positions would save $600,000 – a 2 percent reduction in the tax rate – and reduce the budget gap to $1.37 million. He said the remaining shortfall could potentially be met in operating and service reductions, but declined to provide details.

"I haven't gotten that far year," he said, adding that he expects to present a more detailed plan when the Town Council meets April 5.

The potential job cuts follow the council's March 15 meeting, where councilors instructed Brown to provide budget scenarios representing zero, 2, 4 and 6 percent tax increases.

Brown said a 6 percent increase would retain current staff and services.

Brunswick's current property tax rate is $22.54 per $1,000 of assessed value. The addition or subtraction of about $300,000 in the budget represents a 1 percent change in the mil rate.

Brown was initially inclined to withhold job-cut scenarios until later in the budget process, but several councilors were reluctant to form a consensus on a property tax mandate before knowing which positions and services would be jeopardized.

Chairwoman Joanne King also said that employees should be notified as soon as possible.

The Town Council will hold a budget workshop on April 12.

"This is certainly a difficult time for all of us," Brown said. "These are all good employees. But Brunswick is going through the same challenges as every community in the state and the private sector."

Steve Mistler can be reached at 373-9060 ext. 123 or smistler@theforecaster.net