Town Manager John Falla has proposed municipal budget with a zero percent increase that will go before the budget committee March 11.

The nearly $2.4 million budget is approximately $6,000 less than last year's approved financial plan.

The net budget is down because $145,500 deduction was trimmed from public works for bridges and roads, and a 25 percent decrease — $21,000 — in the assessment department and select board funds.

The reduction in select board and assessment funds is due to an abatement expense decrease from last year and the shift of a quarter-time position in the assessing department to the town office, cutting $10,000 in compensation.

The biggest portions of the budget is allocated to public works and town office expenses.

For the public works budget, $486,675 is apportioned to road and bridge maintenance, down from $632,675 last year and $522,589 is earmarked for solid waste, up from $467,462 last year.

The town office, seeing a slight increase at 4.3 percent, is proposed at $519,998 this year. Last year's total was $498,785.

The social and community service budget has a proposed increase in the veterans graves and cemeteries lines in part due to a request for $25,000 for maintenance, up from $1,500 expended in the last year.

The entire category is projected to be allocated $152,061 from $45,274 from last year.

There are more than 500 veteran graves in Seaside, North Parish, Clark Hill and South Parish cemeteries, according to the town newsletter.

The ambulance association is requesting $75,000. The municipality's ambulance service has evolved to include paid, full-time paramedic coverage. The previous ambulance budget was in the vicinity of $100,000 and funded through donations and billing, Falla said in January.

Previously, the response team was solely staffed by volunteers.

The public safety department allotment is proposed at $334,041, down from $339,389 appropriated last year.

The town education committee, following the select board's approval to pursue district withdrawal, has begun to develop a budget for the withdrawal committee — pending voter acceptance. In the budget message from Falla, he said he expects the request to be around $25,000.

Education Committee Chairman Terry Driscoll said the money is a placeholder while the committee takes a more thorough review of what their needs are. He added they will not exceed the $25,000 mark.

Falla said if Gov. Paul LePage's biennial budget proposal passes without any changes, St. George could lose about $78,500 in state revenue sharing.

Revenue sharing is an amount of money distributed to towns based on population, state valuations and tax assessments. It's funded by setting aside a percentage of state government's sales and personal and corporate income taxes.

The town meeting is set for Tuesday, May 14, at 7 p.m. The fiscal year begins July 1.

Courier Publications reporter Juliette Laaka can be reached at 594-4401 ext.118 or via email at jlaaka@courierpublicationsllc.com.