Board approves computer projection purchaseEyes 4 percent increased budget
Thomaston — The Thomaston Board of Selectmen voted unanimously 4-0 to bring its computer and projection equipment into the 21st century March 10.
At the request of Code Enforcement Officer Bill Wasson, the board approved the $2,500 expenditure , which will allow him to purchase components to provide computerized projection of project plans for public presentations.
"This is something that will be appropriate for the Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals to project images and diagrams for all to view," said Wasson.
"This will make it much more citizen friendly," said Wasson, adding that most plans now already come in digital form.
The expense will include a digital projector along with iPads for both Wasson and Assessor's Agent Dave Martucci, who do not have laptops as yet. A portable screen has already been donated, according to Wasson.
Wasson explained how it will simplify inspecting a house or plumbing with the ability to take a photograph on site and dictate information, then immediately upload it to wherever it needs to go for review.
"It cuts out a lot of extra steps," said Wasson.
Preliminary budget review
After one meeting with the Budget Committee, Town Manager Valmore Blastow Jr. told selectmen preliminary figures show a 4 percent increase in the 2014-2015 municipal budget.
"Basically, it is up $117,000 over last year," said Blastow, who pointed out payroll, slated for a 3 percent increase across the board.
Other areas he noted were:
— General government, up $6,000 from $350,275 last year. This includes $1,000 for lien costs.
— Police Department, up $5,600 from $249,464 of which $3,000 is reserve wages. Blastow commented some of this might be able to be shaved off during the process.
— Fire Department, increased by $4,000 from $100,088 — part of which is vehicle equipment and repair.
— Protection and Public Safety, up $2,300
— Public Works, increased by $7,000 from $441,001 — with $3,000 being fuel oil and $1,500 vehicle maintenance
— Ambulance, up a slight $1,700 — $1,500 of which is vehicle maintenance
— Transfer Station, increased by $20,046 from last year's $214,000 — 10 percent
— Recreation and leisure, up $3,340 with $3,000 of that requested to expand programs to the community
— Unclassifieds, increased by $35,000 from $582,811 — with workers' compensation up $17,000; FICA up $6,000 due to being underbudgeted last year; and health insurance increasing by $14,000.
— Capital improvements, up $10,400 with $9,000 going to paving for petroleum costs
That brings the proposed budget to $2,953,427, according to Blastow.
Thomaston's elections and town meeting are held in June.
Courier Publications reporter Beth A. Birmingham can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 125 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.