St. George approves $1.6 million budget
St, George — The $1.65 million municipal budget prepared by Town Manager John Falla was accepted by residents May 13 at town meeting.
About 60 residents breezed through the budget, approving a spending package that is 2 percent less than last year's figure mainly due to a slight uptick in anticipated revenue. The meeting lasted about one-and-half hours.
The 2014-2015 proposal is down by $32,000 and the total revenue from costs associated with vehicle excise tax and mooring fees, is $804,100.
The gross town budget is $2.4 million before revenues are taken from the figure.
Taking school, county and town costs into consideration, a resident owning a $200,000 property would see a $20 increase in their tax bill. School appropriation is estimated to increase 3.8 percent, at $4.3 million, which is 64 percent of the total budget. The county tax is down by a little more than 1 percent, totaling $744,601.
In the budget message, Falla said the town is facing its final payment on its bond debt in November, resulting in the removal of $150,000 a year in bond debt expense.
— All full-time town office and transfer station employees will receive a 2 percent increase in pay. Falla will receive a 3 percent increase in compensation, but went without a raise in the last budget session, adding to the $13,708 increase in the town office budget.
— The Public Works Solid Waste Department is seeking $464,853, down 11 percent.
— The Planning Department is set to receive $119,000, up 32 percent from last year, due to an increase in board member pay from $10 to $20 a meeting, and the Conservation Commission's request of $25,000 to assist in its purchase of High Island.
— The Public Safety Department is set to receive $354,948, 6 percent more than last year.
— The select board and assessors have $66,952 apportioned to them, up by .3 percent from last year.
— Public works roads and bridges would receive $486,225, with no significant change from last year.
— General assistance has been cut in half from last year, totaling $2,500.
— Social and Community services cost is down 7 percent, totaling $142,316.
— Parks and Recreation is down 5 percent, totaling $95,474.
— The harbors budget is down 17 percent, totaling $94,420.
— The unclassified fund is decreased to half because of no further funding needed for the withdrawal committee or summer math program. A new line item has been added to this account for expenses associated with the former library building on Main Street.
Falla said earlier it is uncertain what the town will receive from the state in revenue sharing, but predicting more cuts will occur. Falla said his conservative guess is the town will receive about $25,000, from the state, down from $78,000 anticipated last year.
"Overall this year is somewhat status quo, with future years holding a big question mark," he said prior to town meeting.
Courier Publications' reporter Juliette Laaka can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 118 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.