North Haven Town Administrator Joe Stone said Feb. 17 that the town’s budget is still a work in progress. Stone said the Budget Committee will finalize the proposed budget next week.

Stone said a budget calling for $1.8 million in appropriations will be presented to voters on March 13. That represents a slight increase — less than 5 percent — over the 2009 appropriation, he said.

“It didn’t go up last year,” Stone said. “It went down by a hair.” He said items that should have been included last year were not.

Stone said he proposed a 2.7 percent cost of living increase for town employees. The Budget Committee and the Board of Selectmen are working with that figure, he said.

North Haven has been banking funds from the Urban-Rural Initiative Program to pay for capital improvements. Stone said some of that money has been budgeted to continue renovations at the town office.

“Phase two is a meeting room and fireproof vault for town records,” Stone said.

He said a road that has been scheduled for repaving since 2006 is also on the proposed budget.

“We’re continuing to sock away money for 2012 road paving,” he said. “Interest rates are so low that original projects have been altered.” He said the town’s investments are earning very little interest.

Stone said the net budget — the amount to be raised through local property taxes — will be set after school budgets are finalized in the spring.

In other local news, Stone said memberships in the North Haven fitness center, operated by the Penobscot Bay YMCA, have reached a high level.

“For a population of 354 there are 90 memberships,” he said. “It’s only available to those 18 and older, so that’s a very high percentage.”

The Herald Gazette Reporter Shlomit Auciello can be reached at 207-236-8511 or by e-mail at sauciello@villagesoup.com.