St. George to decide on budget, School Committee, town plot
St. George — Voters will decide whether to approve a $2,823,359 gross municipal budget at this year’s town meeting May 9, as well as a separate warrant article that proposes raising and appropriating $28,600 for planning, permitting and design at the 10 Cold Storage Road property purchased by the town in 2015.
The $2,823,359 figure is down by about 1 percent from last year’s budget, but if voters approve the Cold Storage Road expenditures, it will come in at about $3,000 more than the 2016-2017 budget.
An earlier draft of the budget projected a property tax rate increase of around half a percent from town expenditures, though the proposed budget has increased slightly since that projection and could change again if voters approve the Cold Storage Road warrant article.
The most significant budget increase comes in Roads and Property Management, due in large part to a proposed new custodian's position with a salary of $33,280. Finance Director Elizabeth Curtis said adding a staff member in this department would allow the town to reduce dependence on contractors for various public works tasks and to complete some additional work.
Roads and Property Management also includes a proposed $20,000 to repave an area near the town’s salt shed and $20,100 for maintenance of the Seaside Cemetery, which the town took over as approved by voters at the 2016 Town Meeting.
Other significant increases come in the Fire Department, with a $10,000 proposed increase for office staff that Curtis said was due to a part-time hire introduced now that Tim Polky has left his longtime post as fire chief to become town manager. A $10,000 increase is also proposed for equipment purchases, which will go toward new air packs and a cutter tool for emergency extrication.
The budget also includes a 3 percent wage increase for full-time employees.
Budget decreases are proposed in the Harbors account, due to $73,000 spent last year on planning, design, permitting and renovations at 10 Cold Storage Road. Also down is the Parks and Recreation budget, where funds for ballfield maintenance have been halved and with last year’s $20,000 in ballfield improvements no longer in the budget.
Voters will choose their candidates for two open seats on the St. George School Committee at the election May 8. Seats currently held by Margot Kelley and William Reinhardt are contested, with Shasta Minery, Rick Bernard and Ronald Borror running for one seat and Mark Shapiro and Alane Kennedy running to take the other.
Current Select Board members Richard Bates and Wayne Sawyer are running in uncontested races to retake their seats.
Voters will also be asked May 8 whether to approve $28,600 in funding for the 10 Cold Storage Road plan. A public hearing April 20 is scheduled to address the plan for the town-owned property, a vision which currently entails the creation of a park and potential commercial space.
Reporter Dan Otis Smith can be reached at 594-4401 x123 or by email at email@example.com.