Camden Town Manager Roberta Smith submitted a budget Feb. 26 that keeps within the limits of state guidelines, but exceeds the limit set by the Select Board.

In her cover letter, Smith said the difference was due to the inclusion of the position of a full-time development director and office, adding $85,000 to the overall budget. This new position was added at the recommendation of the Community and Economic Development Advisory Committee, known as CEDAC.

Smith said the budget did not include any estimates of possible income or expenses related to the tax increment financing districts approved by voters Feb. 23.

“You will find my recommendations lean toward those things that contribute to the town’s economic well-being and development,” Smith wrote in her introduction to the budget. She said the most notable omission resulting from her effort to contain costs in the face of reduced revenues was the lack of any funding for the town’s capital reserve and capital improvement budgets.

Smith’s letter said her proposed budget did not include setting aside funds for capital reserve accounts or replacement of police vehicles or public works equipment. Instead, she created a new reserve account specifically for police vehicles and recommended that $12,000 be placed in that account.

“Of particular concern is the state’s continued inclination to balance the state budget on the backs of municipalities,” Smith said. “This downshifting of state deficits undermines our ability to control the costs of basic local services.”

Among the issues pointed out in Smiths’ introduction to the Camden budget are the following.

  • Aqua Maine has requested a 23 percent increase in water rates.
  • There is little money being budgeted for paving and other transportation infrastructure.
  • Health and welfare are to be funded at fiscal year 2010 levels.
  • Smith expects harbor revenues to fall short of previous years, but said expenditures would remain in line with income in that department.

 

In addition to new funding for economic development, a review of the 2010-11 budget document shows the following changes over the previous year.

The budget anticipates a 1.8 percent drop in overall revenues.

  • Town use of the Opera House Auditorium is expected to cost 8.4 percent, or $13,000, more.
  • Aqua Maine’s rate increase, if approved, would cost Camden an additional $36,000 over fiscal year 2009-10.
  • Smith’s budget anticipates a 14.5 percent reduction in information technology costs, based on a cut in capital reserves for computer equipment due to restrictions on the budget, she said.
  • Anticipated income for the Camden Public Library is down 8.8 percent, or $69,440, primarily reflecting zero funding to the History Center Fund and reduced Harbor Park rental fees. Expenses for the library have been budgeted to reflect that loss of revenue. Library Deputy Director Jamie Ritter said cuts were sought throughout the budget and an employee, whose position was funded by a grant, is leaving the area at the same time the grant is ending.

 

A number of capital reserve accounts were reduced or zeroed out due to budget constraints, Smith said.

The following accounts received no funding in fiscal year 2009-10 and requests for the 2010-11 year were reduced in the town manager’s budget.

  • The Camden Opera House maintenance reserve account would receive $3,000 under Smith’s proposal. This is $17,000, or 85 percent, less than the amount requested under the capital plan.
  • Smith did not recommend a $50,000 request for the fire truck reserve account due to budget constraints.
  • Smith recommended $8,000, or 67 percent, of a $12,000 request for the harbor dredging reserve account. According to Camden’s capital improvement plan, $44,400 was to be budgeted for fiscal year 2010-11, to be held in reserve for other harbor projects. Smith’s recommendation was $25,000, or 56 percent of that amount.
  • $58,000 was requested for the Snow Bowl reserve account. Smith has recommended that amount be reduced by 34 percent, to $20,000.
  • Repairs to the public landing restroom roof, with a requested budget of $12,000, were not included in the town manager’s budget.

 

In Camden, voters will elect one Select Board member, one representative to Maine School Administrative District 28 and the Five Town Community School District, and one member of the Camden Personnel Board when they vote by secret ballot in the state primary election on Tuesday, June 8 at the fire station. Camden Town Meeting will be held Wednesday, June 9 at 7 p.m. at the Camden Opera House.

Camden nomination petitions are due back in the town office by 3:30 p.m. on Monday, April 26.

For more information, call the Camden Town Office at 236-3353.