Friendship budget up 3 percentTown meeting March 18
Friendship — Friendship voters will be asked to dig a bit deeper come tax time as the proposed municipal budget shows a 3 percent increase.
The $728,443 budget is an increase of $11,136 from last year. A majority of that is due to a foreseen 18 percent decrease or $7,504 in state revenue sharing and the addition of Knox County Communications expenses of $29,833 that contributed to the protection budget increasing 42 percent or $42,279.
A breakdown of the budget expenditures shows:
— General government at $146,811, up 1.4 percent or $2,006
— Protection at $142,024, up 42 percent or $42,279
— Highways at $129,200, down 8.5 percent or $12,000, mainly due to a resurface town roads carryover from 2013
— Buildings at $57,510, down 15 percent or $10,533, with town maintenance and carryover contributing $19,675 savings
— Health, Sanitation and Social Services at $99,950, up 2.8 percent or $2,776
— Community Development at $8,880, up 16 percent or $1,230 with an increase in planning board expenses
— Debt Service at $63,068, up 40 percent or $18,004 with the purchase of a new fire engine
The board of selectmen recommends the sums be combined from accounts to apply $350,000 to reduce the 2014 year tax rate as follows:
— Excise taxes, $222,059, a 10 percent increase from 2013
— State Revenue Sharing, $33,632, an 18 percent decrease
— Homestead Exemption, $17,280
— Undesignated, $77,029, a 13 percent decrease from 2013
The sum of the general budget combined with article requests totals $728,443. After applying the $350,000 from above, voters will be asked to raise a total of $378,443.
The municipal elections for candidates and questions will take place at the town office Monday, March 17, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Questions posed to the voters, as discussed at a public hearing March 3, are:
— to spend $6,500 for fireworks for Friendship Day, Saturday, July 26.
— to spend $5,000 to provide a $2,500 stipend to the town clerk and town treasurer for health insurance. It is the intent that they will spend an additional 2.5 hours per week to be eligible for the stipend.
— to spend an additional $1,500 in the road budget to fund an increase in the road commissioner's salary to $31,850 and to increase the hourly wage of snowplow drivers by $1 per hour to $16 per hour.
— to spend $12,000 for the fire department budget to supplement what is appropriated
— to spend $1,000 for a stipend for the recreation director
— to create the position of Ball Field Maintenance Director and raise and appropriate $1,500 for an annual stipend for this position.
Candidates to be voted for in the municipal election are Arthur "Bubba" Thompson Jr. for a three-year term on the Board of Selectmen and Pamela Cabanas for a three-year term as assessor.
The annual town meeting is Tuesday, March 18, at 6 p.m. at the Hahn Community Center. This is a change from the normal time.
Courier Publications reporter Beth A. Birmingham can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 125 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.