One budget issue was tabled March 17 as Waldoboro selectmen and the Budget Committee continued to review the proposed municipal budget. But the issue that was tabled was not one with a suggested cut; it was the transfer station, and selectmen tabled a vote so the town could spend a few days considering a pay-per-bag program.

The Emergency Medical Services budget account was the first item on Thursday night’s agenda. Two days earlier, a series of suggestions to lower the budget by cutting personnel listed the EMS account as a possible target.

That suggestion was to cut the benefits for the third full-time EMS employee. The work would still have to be done by two part-time employees who would receive no benefits.

That suggestion was effectively abandoned when the Board of Selectmen and the Budget Committee endorsed the EMS budget, rather than amending it to include the cut or tabling it like selectmen did for the police department and town clerk budgets on March 15.

EMS Director Mike Monck and Deputy Director Mike Poli said the third employee was a key part of the EMS department. Monk said the town would be remiss letting her go. Poli said the decision could have a domino effect: if the town drops a paramedic, the EMS department couldn’t raise as much revenue through hospital transfers and intercepts to other towns.

The fire department budget was reviewed, and selectmen and the Budget Committee added back some funds that had been cut as the fire chief continued to trim the budget. The proposed budget now includes a $150 stipend for firefighters that have certification to fight fires from inside burning buildings. There were a few questions about whether to provide any pay for the volunteer department, and also great support for the 24 firefighters.

“These are dedicated people that volunteer a lot more than what they get paid for,” Fire Chief Paul Smeltzer said.

The roads budget was approved, with comments about the long hours worked by snow plow drivers. One resident suggested getting part-time drivers to lower overtime costs. Another resident said the issue was safety. Being on the roads operating heavy machinery for 18, 24 or 40 hours is not safe, the resident said.

On the transfer station issue, Public Works Director John Daigle said the town could save some money by closing for an additional day, going from being open six days a week to five. This could save approximately $10,000, Daigle said.

Daigle said the property tax budget could be decreased much more if the town went to a pay-per-bag program. The pros were that it could lower the mil rate and encourage recycling. The cons were that more garbage would be strewn along the road or dumped in the woods. A pay-per-bag program could save $300,000, with $180,000 as Waldoboro’s share. Cushing and Friendship also use and help pay for the transfer station.

Selectmen tabled a decision on the transfer station to look into how this policy would have to be legally adopted.

Selectmen and the Budget Committee also reviewed the community development accounts — shellfish conservation, the planning and development department, economic development and the A.D. Gray building.

The police department and town clerk accounts, which were tabled March 15, were not brought up during the three-hour meeting. A list of suggestions requested by selectmen — but not part of the proposed budget — included cutting the full-time town clerk position and one or two police officers.

Selectmen and the Budget Committee will meet Tuesday, March 22 at 6 p.m. at the town office.

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