North Yarmouth town budget could rise 1.7%

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NORTH YARMOUTH — The fiscal year 2015 municipal budget could increase 1.7 percent, to $2.45 million, according to preliminary numbers.

From that amount, more than $921,000 could come from taxes, a decrease of nearly $5,000 from the current year, as recommended by the Board of Selectmen late last week.

The estimates do not include county and school taxes.

Selectmen and the Budget Committee suggested nearly $711,000 be spent for public works. But if the town opts to use a high-performance chip-sealing material to pave Sligo Road, as opposed to traditional asphalt overlay, about $54,000 could be saved, according to Interim Town Manager Marnie Diffin.

The less expensive form of chip sealing, used last year on Town Farm Road and part of Milliken Road, uses coarse rock instead of asphalt, and is noisier to drive on and not as smooth, but costs significantly less than normal pavement.

The approximately $229,000 economic development line includes $100,000 for planning and consulting regarding future use of the North Yarmouth Memorial School, which is due to close once the school year ends in June, and then be “mothballed” until a new use is found.

Mothballing, which costs about $20,000 and could be funded from the public facilities line, includes draining the 1976 building’s pipes, getting rid of the sprinkler system, and boarding up the windows, Diffin said.

One possible line item increase, from nearly $189,000 to about $201,000 for administration, would fund an increase in combined hours from 55 to 70 for two front-counter employees at the Town Office.

Another potential increase, from nearly $8,900 to about $24,000 in public safety, is largely to do with the animal control officer post. While the town had been funding the position through Cumberland on a per-call basis, North Yarmouth is now working with Cumberland, Falmouth and Yarmouth to pay for two officers, and the higher amount reflects “more of a true cost of operating the service,” Diffin said.

Residents will vote on the fiscal 2015 spending plan at Town Meeting on April 12. Due to the destruction by fire last August of Wescustogo Hall, the traditional Town Meeting location, this year’s gathering will be held in the North Yarmouth Memorial School gym.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.