Town Meeting set for May 30
NORTH YARMOUTH — The Board of Selectmen Tuesday heard an initial budget recommendation that includes $60,000 in reductions and maintains the budget $12,000 below the maximum allowed by the state.
Selectmen also set a Town Meeting date of May 30 and voted to put an issue of sidewalk maintenance to the public at that meeting.
The initial budget recommended by the budget committee involves total expenditures of $2.3 million – a $5,000 increase over the current budget. That figure does not include spending on schools or the county tax.
Last year, the town paid $233,000 to the county and $3.8 million to School Administrative District 51.
The total budget recommended falls $12,000 short of the LD1 limit – the maximum increase allowed by the state. The town is allowed to violate the limit with Town Meeting approval, as has been done for the past several years.
The largest reduction in spending is recommended in the solid waste account, thanks to the switch last year to a pay-per-throw system. The budget committee projects a decrease of $45,000 in that account.
The committee recommended decreasing mowing hours to achieve a savings of $3,500 in the Parks budget. In addition, the committee proposed a decrease of $6,500 to the Public Works department because of a one-time equipment purchase included in the current budget.
Smaller reductions are recommended in administration, public service and Wescustogo Hall for total decreases of just over $60,000.
On the revenue side, building impact fees are expected to be more than halved, and are estimated at $20,000 compared to the current budgeted amount of $45,000.
That decrease could be eclipsed by an expected $50,000 increase in the solid waste program, because of the newly implemented pay-per-bag system.
Total revenues are expected to increase $45,000. That figure does not include state revenue sharing, which bumped up town revenues $200,000 last year.
The numbers are not yet finalized, and will be the topic of a joint meeting of the selectmen and budget committee on March 26. The final budget must be approved at Town Meeting May 30; the final school budget must be approved by referendum including North Yarmouth and Cumberland voters.
Also at Town Meeting, residents will have the chance to weigh the issue of sidewalk maintenance.
Some selectmen, including Mark Verrill and Chair Paul Napolitano, say the town could find significant savings by not plowing sidewalks. The men were concerned that the town can’t maintain them well enough on their own – the town of Cumberland is responsible for plowing North Yarmouth sidewalks – and that residents rarely use them.
“People do not use the sidewalks when it’s icy, they walk in the street” Napolitano said. “Why are we paying money (to maintain sidewalks) when people are walking in the street?”
Other selectmen, including Anne Graham and Candy Burgess, were concerned that if even a small number of people feels safer using the sidewalks, that they should be maintained.
Selectmen voted unanimously to set the topic for vote at Town Meeting May 30. Selectmen Rob Wood was absent.
In other business, selectmen set the date for elections of municipal and school officers for June 9. Nomination papers will be available starting March 14, and are due at Town Hall by April 25. Nomination papers must be accompanied by between 25 and 75 signatures.
Sarah Trent can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 108 or firstname.lastname@example.org.