North Yarmouth Town Meeting OKs $2.7M budget

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NORTH YARMOUTH — Voters approved a nearly $2.7 million fiscal 2013 municipal budget at Town Meeting on Saturday.

The more than three-hour meeting, held at Wescustogo Hall, drew 57 registered voters, out of a total of about 2,800 in town.

The gross budget will increase 1.9 percent, from the current $2.6 million to $2.66 million next year. The net budget – expenses minus income – will rise 0.2 percent, from about $892,000 to nearly $894,000.

North Yarmouth’s entire tax appropriation – including municipal, county and school, as well as overlay – is to increase 8.55 percent, from $6.2 million in fiscal 2012 to $6.8 million. Overlay remains flat, while county taxes are up 1.79 percent, and school taxes are up 10.6 percent, according to Administrative Assistant Marnie Diffin.

With all expenses included – as well as an estimated town valuation increase of $2.5 million – the town’s tax rate would increase from $13.12 per $1,000 of property tax valuation to $14.17. Taxes would increase $315 on a home valued at $300,000.

School Administrative District 51 Finance Director Scott Poulin has noted that as a percentage of the overall (state-equalized) valuation of the district’s two communities – North Yarmouth and Cumberland – North Yarmouth’s increased by about $130,000. That town’s percentage of the total combined valuation has increased this year from 28.7 percent to 29.4 percent.

Two key expenditures decreased since being published in the Town Meeting warrant. Bids for a Mill Road improvement project came in lower than expected, allowing the town to budget $50,000 less for that work. The total project is planned to cost about $461,000 – $250,000 of which will be borrowed, while the rest is in the Public Works budget.

Voters rejected a proposal last June to borrow $900,000 for the resurfacing and partial reconstruction of the road. With support by voters this year, sections of Mill Road will be reclaimed and repaved. Reclaiming, which includes recycling and strengthening existing pavement instead of reconstruction, provides the cost reduction from last year’s proposal.

Responding to a concern about spending that money at this time, given expense increases faced by residents, Selectman Andrew Walsh noted that about $400,000 had been cut from the project, and that “the road desperately needs that work.”

Dirt Road to Route 231 will be reclaimed and repaved, while Dirt Road to Route 115 would just be repaved.

Bids for a Public Works plow truck also came in lower than expected, allowing the town to budget $147,000 from capital reserves instead of $170,000.

Voters also approved an increase from about $253,000 in the current fiscal year to about $276,000 in fiscal 2013 in the Fire-Rescue budget. More money would be spent on the public safety assistant position, which was created last year when voters approved an official Fire Department for North Yarmouth.

The extra funds would go toward expanding Public Safety Assistant Ricky Plummer’s hours from 20 to 30 a week. They also include a hike in the fire chief stipend from $4,000 to $8,000 to better account for the time the chief puts into the job. The additional money would also go toward recruiting and retaining new firefighters/emergency medical technicians.

Plummer will serve as both public safety assistant and fire chief starting July 1. He will replace Chief Clark Baston, who will continue as road foreman for the Public Works Department.

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

Sidebar Elements

Selectman Steven Palmer addresses the audience June 16 at the North Yarmouth Town Meeting. His fellow selectmen are, from left, Paul Napolitano, Robert Wood, Andrew Walsh and Darla Hamlin.

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.