Despite efforts to reduce costs in many areas of the proposed Thomaston budget, it is up slightly due to uncontrollable costs, according to Town Manager Valmore Blastow.

The proposed municipal budget is $2,723,125, up 2 percent ($53,356) from last year’s budget of $2,699,769.

The total property tax commitment in the new budget is expected to be $1,642,473, down 2 percent or $36,460 from last year. Blastow estimates the tax rate for the town will be $15.58 for the 2010-2011 year, up from $15.48 last year.

That rate can be broken down into $5.05 for the municipal portion of the budget, $1.12 for the county budget and $9.42 for Regional School Unit 13.

Last year, the rate included $5.17 for the town, $1.05 for the county and $9.26 for the school district.

The town budget is now on its second draft. Blastow said that when he proposed his first draft of the budget, he cut more than $15,000 from the operating budget. The budget committee cut an additional 5 percent from each town department, though the cuts did not touch employee wages.

Blastow said this is the second year that all town employee wages have been frozen.

He said the overall municipal budget is up slightly due to increased costs that could not be avoided. The cost of renting hydrants from Aqua Maine this year will total $141,000, up 21 percent ($25,000) from last year.

The budget also includes $294,000 for health insurance, up 6 percent ($17,000) from last year.

The general assistance budget is $30,000, up $10,000 from last year. Blastow said in the town newsletter that 2009 generated 118 cases, up from 85 in 2008. “This is a 100 percent plus increase over the 16-year average of 48 requests,” he said.

In addition, this year the Thomaston Public Library operating budget is included in the general budget, adding $25,650 to the budget that was not included last year. Last year, the $27,000 library budget was taken from the undesignated fund balance instead.

Some of the major budget accounts are:

Selectmen’s wages, $9,676, same as last year.

Town manager’s salary, $65,135, same as last year.

Code enforcement officer’s salary, $38,828, same as last year.

General government, $330,937, down 2 percent ($6,968) from last year.

Police department, $280,353, down $2,250.

Police chief’s salary, $54,058, same as last year.

Buildings, $90,345, down 5 percent ($4,755).

Fire department, $96,987, down $2,850.

Public works, $406,504, down $8,172.

Public works director, $51,949, same as last year.

Ambulance service, $103,395, down $6,409.

Transfer station fees, $210,000, down $4,000 from last year.

Assessor’s office, $31,767, down $536.

Recreation department, $57,850, down $1,400.

Recreation director’s salary, $31,500, same as last year.

Social service agencies and local agencies, $20,233, down $1,065. This line includes funds for New Hope for Women, the Humane Society of Knox County, the Penquis Community Action Program and other service agencies. Each agency received a 5 percent cut from last year, across the board in the Thomaston budget.

This draft of the budget is expected to go to the selectmen Monday, April 26.

Nomination papers

Nomination papers are available at the town office for elected positions. Two selectman seats are up for election this year. The seats held by Chairman Bill Hahn and by the late Tom Bertocci are up for election.

Mason Johnson Jr. has taken out nomination papers to run for selectman.

Joan Linscott has taken out papers to run for assessor.

A school board seat held by Julie Sanborn is also up for election.

Nomination papers are due by Friday, April 23 with at least 25 signatures and no more than 100. The seats have three-year terms.

The election will be held Tuesday, June 8.