Road work, Fire Department costs feed proposed North Yarmouth budget, tax hike

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NORTH YARMOUTH — The Board of Selectmen and Budget Committee are recommending a fiscal 2012 municipal budget of $3.5 million.

Nearly $906,000 would come from taxes – a 7.44 percent increase over the current year.

Residents will vote on the budget at Town Meeting on June 18.

Earlier this month the Budget Committee recommended a $3.4 million budget, with only $824,000 from taxes. But the spending plan was a work in progress, and both the committee and Board of Selectmen had other budget categories to consider before reaching consensus last week on an amount to send to Town Meeting.

Factored into next year’s budget is a $1 million bond. The resurfacing and partial reconstruction of Mill Road would use $900,000 of that bond, while the rest would go toward the balance of the $350,000 cost of a replacement fire truck.

Also proposed in next year’s budget is about $160,000 to resurface all of Mountfort Road. The budget additionally calls for a three-year contract with Cumberland for recreation (about $59,000 a year) and a one-year $134,500 agreement with Cumberland for library services.

Cumberland Town Manager Bill Shane said last December that while North Yarmouth pays a portion of Cumberland’s recreation and library budgets, Cumberland also needs help with its parks budget. Cumberland planned to phase in parks cost to North Yarmouth over three years, staring with about $11,000 in fiscal 2012.

But an ad hoc committee reviewing the matter recommended no money go into North Yarmouth’s budget for parks, and that discussions on that matter continue between the two towns, Administrative Assistant Marnie Diffin said.

North Yarmouth should save almost $80,000 next year when solid waste and recyclables are picked up with one truck instead of two. The town also expects to save about $15,000 by closing Town Hall on Fridays. Two full-time employees and one part-timer would have reduced hours.

While the town took $130,000 from its undesignated fund balance, or surplus, for fiscal 2011, the two panels recommend using $180,000 from that account next year. They are also calling for about $316,000 to go into capital reserves, an increase from about $193,000 for fiscal 2011.

“On a practical level, you’re just moving (the money) from one town bank account to the other, because you’re taking it from undesignated fund balance and putting it in here,” Diffin explained. She added that the extra amount being added to capital reserves is meant to better prepare the town to fund replacement fire trucks in the future.

Diffin called next year’s budget “very pro fire (and) rescue,” noting that $19,000 is included to fund a 20-hour position to assist in areas like paperwork, training, scheduling and ambulance inventories. Also proposed is an increase of almost $7,000 for fire and rescue gear, and an additional $20,000 for narrow-band radios to comply with a federal mandate.

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

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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.