Owls Head voters approve budget, borrowing
Owls Head — Owls Head voters agreed Aug. 23 to borrow $260,000 for a town-owned salt and sand shed.
The more than 50 residents who turned out at the Aug. 23 annual town meeting also adopted the 2010-2011 municipal budget of $884,567 as recommended by town officials.
Residents sped through the warrant, approving all 25 articles in less than a half hour. All items were approved unanimously except the salt and sand shed proposal, which garnered one no vote. There were also only a handful of questions asked during the meeting.
Selectman Richard Carver said the salt and sand now used on town roads during the winter are stored on property belonging to Jake Barbour who wants to use that portion of the property for another purpose. Carver said residents approved money at last year's annual town meeting for engineering work on the salt and sand shed. Bids were solicited and the $260,000 bond issue was based on the low bid.
The building would be about 100 feet by 50 feet and would be located in back of the community building on town property. Carver said another benefit from this project would be to have the salt and sand stored inside, making it easier to mix in cold and wet weather. Another advantage would be to avoid the problem of salt leaching into the water supply.
The town estimates that $100,245 in interest is expected to be paid on the $260,000 borrowing over the 15-year life of the loan.
Voters approved unanimously a second borrowing proposal. Residents agreed to have the town borrow $33,200 for upgrades to the wastewater treatment system. The work will involve replacement of pumps, lift stations and control boxes.
The $884,567 budget approved by voters is up 2 percent from the $867,821 approved last year by voters. The increase will have little impact on the town's tax rate since 75 percent of the property taxes raised go to Regional School Unit 13.
The tax rate should be similar to 2009 since the town's payment to RSU 13 is increasing by less than $45,000 from its current $2.4 million level.
The largest account is public works, approved at $441,869, up about $5,000. Solid waste is the single largest expense in the public works budget at $132,000. Snow removal was set at $96,500, town road work was set at $89,607 and salt was budgeted at $36,000.
The general government account was approved at $210,005, down $10,000 from a year ago.
The public safety budget was set at $213,693, up nearly $17,000. The largest portion of this budget is the fire department budget, which is $112,381. The ambulance budget was set at $68,000.
The town is projecting that it will generate $531,595 in non-property tax revenues for the upcoming year to offset the amount of property taxes to be raised for municipal services. This revenue projection is an increase from the $503,000 included in the past year's budget. Much of that increase is from interest income. The town is projecting that motor vehicle excise tax income will drop from $300,000 to $280,000.
Linda Post was re-elected unanimously for another three-year term as selectman. There were no school board seats up for a vote this year. Selectmen were re-elected to serve as both assessors and overseers of the poor.
William Leppanen was re-elected unanimously as road commissioner. Jane Newcomb was elected to a three-year term on the town council, which serves as an advisory board to selectmen, and Eric Davis was elected to a two-year term on the council.
Jeff Edwards was re-elected as harbormaster.