Initial Waldoboro budget shows 5 percent increase
Waldoboro — Waldoboro residents may see a 4.66 percent in the 2014-2015 municipal budget.
At the March 11 Board of Selectmen meeting, Interim Town Manager Wes Richardson released an overview of what he considers to be a preliminary budget "predicated on realistic estimations."
Total non-property tax revenues are projected to decrease by approximately $1,094 or .05 percent. Highlights noted were:
— Taxes to increase by $28,770 or 3.75 percent. Excise taxes are expected to increase by $26,900 or 3.84 percent
— $5,000 from the Shellfish Conservation Reserve to fund a second part-time warden position
— Using $35,000 to offset the tax rate
Richardson noted that the town's General Fund Unassigned Fund Balance at June 30, 2013 was $708,694 — an increase of $322,259 from the previous year.
The total proposed expenditures are budgeted at $3,871,671, an increase of $161,669 or 4.36 percent. General highlights were:
— Salaries and Wages, increased by $27,525 with an average increase for regular employees budgeted at 3 percent, which is consistent with the wage increase in the negotiated collective bargaining agreement with police and public works employees.
— All employees who subscribe to dependent coverage under the town-sponsored health insurance plan are required to pay 15 percent of the cost of the premium.
— In addition, the town-sponsored health insurance continues use of a high deductible plan, complimented with a Health Reimbursement Account which is funded at $25,000.
— The town contribution rates to the employee retirement plan, Maine Public Employees Retirement System, increased from 10.5 percent to 11 percent for police officers and from 6.5 percent to 7.8 percent for all other eligible employees. This resulted in an approximate $3,309 increase to the budget.
Contributions to various capital reserve accounts increased by $87,609 from last year, with Waldoboro's share increased by $99,722.
Also noted was the Transfer Station Budget. The contributions from the three partner towns of Waldoboro, Friendship and Cushing show a projected increase due to a proposed decrease in other revenues, including fund balance. Waldoboro's increase will be $19,377 or 7.83 percent.
Richardson explained that the combination of a .05 percent revenue decrease and a 4.36 percent increase in expenditures would mean property taxes to fund the municipal portion of the budget would need to increase by approximately $160,000. This would be 9.52 percent increase from fiscal year 2014.
"That is not to say that individual tax bills would increase by 9.52 percent, as many other variables are involved in the equation to determine individual tax bill amounts," Richardson clarified.
Several other variables will have an affect on the final budget process — most significantly the town's share of Regional School Unit 40's assessment amount and the Lincoln County tax assessment.
Joint budget review meetings with the Board of Selectmen and the Budget Committee are scheduled for Tuesday, March 25, Thursday, March 27 and Tuesday, April 1, at 6 p.m. at the municipal building. A copy of the proposed budget is posted on the town's website and available at the town office for inspection.
Town meeting by referendum will be held Tuesday, June 10, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the municipal building. The Board of Selectmen anticipates it will finalize the town meeting warrant at its April 8 meeting.
Courier Publications reporter Beth A. Birmingham can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 125 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.