Budget Committee reviews town, school requests
Lincolnville — The Budget Committee went over municipal warrant articles for the town meeting and reviewed the budget for Lincolnville Central School Tuesday, April 29.
The committee received a presentation on municipal warrant articles from Town Administrator David Kinney, and asked questions about the town budget for clarification. Members discussed individual line items in preparation for presenting recommendations to residents at their next meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 6, at the Town Office.
One item that came in for some discussion was the amount allocated for P.A.W.S. Animal Shelter. Committee member Tracy Colby asked Kinney if the town had to contract with an animal shelter, and he said state law requires municipalities to either have their own animal shelter or contract with one.
Colby wondered why pet owners were not required to pay for the shelter, rather than the town, to which Kinney replied that residents have to pay to claim pets who are taken to the shelter, but the town must have a place to receive strays. In addition, he said, the shelter takes animals that are unwanted.
“We have oodles of people taking cats there,” he said.
There was a brief discussion of the amount allocated for contingency. Committee member Reed Matthews asked Kinney whether the $10,000 requested for the next fiscal year was the figure allocated historically. The administrator said it had been $8,000 for a number of years, and then a few years ago the price of oil spiked and the selectmen added $2,000 to the amount. Finance Director Jodi Hanson said the town had so far spent less than $1,000 of the $10,000 in contingency money allocated for the current fiscal year.
The Budget Committee also heard a presentation from Lincolnville Central School Principal Paul Russo on the school's budget request for the next year. Russo did not have warrant articles to go over, because the School Committee has not approved them yet. He pledged to get them to the committee after the School Committee's meeting Monday, May 5, in time for the Budget Committee's May 6 meeting.
Colby inquired about a line item for rental income that showed $2,400. Russo said the money is paid by Crossroads Baptist Church, which holds its weekly services in the school, along with occasional church events.
Colby replied with a smile, “Maybe we should get other churches in there.”
Committee member Jim Sinclair asked Russo how many school employees are paid for in the local budget, and how many with money from federal programs not included in the budget. The principal said all but 2.5 full-time equivalent employees were covered by the local budget. He did not have an exact figure on the number of employees, but said it was in the low 20s.
Sarah E. Reynolds is copy editor for the Courier Gazette and Camden Herald.
Sarah E. Reynolds has been a reporter and writer for more than 20 years, winning awards from the Maine Press Association and other professional organizations. She loves to read, ride her ATV and play word games.