The proposed $525,135 municipal budget in Cushing is down more than 8 percent, in part due to a federal grant the town received for snow removal.

The 2010 draft budget is down by $46,963 from last year’s budget of $572,098. The amount to be raised in property taxes to support the town budget is expected to be $322,635, down 10 percent ($37,163) from the $359,798 raised in taxes last year. This figure only relates to the municipal portion of the budget. The Regional School Unit 13 budget, which made up about 80 percent of residents’ property tax bills in 2009, has not yet been set for 2010.

Residents will vote on the municipal budget at town meeting on Tuesday, March 16.

The town received an $18,491 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency this year for snow removal, according to Chairman Alton Grover of the Board of Selectmen. He said he and Cushing Fire Chief Arthur Kiskila worked on the application after finding out the money was available. The town was eligible due to big storms that hit the community last year.

In addition, the town had some money left over in its snow removal budget.

As a result, the proposed budget for snow removal is $12,000, down 80 percent ($48,000) from last year’s budget of $60,000.

The proposed snowplow equipment operations budget is $6,000, double what it was last year.

This year’s budget adds $15,000 toward a town truck replacement and another $15,000 toward fire truck replacement. Those amounts were not included in last year’s budget.

One of the larger increases is in the payroll tax account, which has doubled from $11,000 to $22,000.

The county dispatching fee this year is $30,000, up $3,872 from last year.

The town’s computer account is $7,000, up from $2,700 last year. The town may need to purchase two computers this year and it has to pay to regularly update software.

The “incidentals” budget, which includes the cost of elections and town meetings, printing, phones, and office supplies, is $15,000, up from $10,000 last year.

Other proposed town budget items include:

Town office salaries, $45,754, down $1,026 from last year.

Fire department, $18,000, up $1,800.

Professional services (which include legal fees), $25,000, down from $50,000 last year.

Administration, $65,000, up $3,000 from last year.

Recreation, $3,200, down from $7,000 last year.

General assistance, $3,000, down $1,000 from last year.

Library assistance, $2,500, same as last year.

Town building repair and maintenance, $10,000, same as last year.

Town garage operations, $1,000, down from $2,000 last year.

Waldoboro transfer station, $96,000, down $6,000.

Social services, $9,846, down $5,157 from last year.

Meetings and elections

The town elections will be held Monday, March 15 from 2 to 8 p.m. at the Cushing Community Center.

Selectmen Robert Stackpole Jr. and Alton Grover are running uncontested races for re-election this year. Evelyn Kalloch is running an uncontested race for assessor.

John David Farmer is running for re-election to the budget committee. Another budget committee seat is up for election, but no candidate has come forward to run. The town may elect a member through write-in votes.

Two citizen initiatives are also on the ballot this year.

One of the ballot questions is as follows: “Shall the town vote to reduce the number of selectmen from five to three and to be accomplished by the removal of seat number four and seat number five at the annual town meeting of the year 2011?”

The other ballot question reads: “Shall the town vote to raise or appropriate $6,200 for the purchase of a front end loader for the purpose of loading sand on town trucks in an attempt to save $15,000 dollars in a five-year period?” (To read related stories, click on the links below.)

The town meeting will be held Tuesday, March 16 at 7 p.m. at the Cushing Community Center.





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