The Select Board on March 11 voted to recommend a budget that includes halving financial support to provider agencies and reduces the recommended appropriation for a police cruiser.

Prior to the select board's recommendations during the March 11 meeting, a budget of $1,762,436 had been proposed, constituting an increase of 1.04 percent or $18,379 more than the previous fiscal year.

According to Lincolnville Town Administrator David Kinney, provider agencies that made budget requests this year include American Red Cross, New Hope for Women and Spectrum Generations.

Kinney said the $18,379 increase from fiscal year 2013 includes the additional $67,000 appropriation requested by Camden First Aid Association, which provides emergency services to the town. Last year, Lincolnville contributed $10,000 to CFAA.

Cuts suggested by members of the public included reductions in spending for various budget lines of public works, and an alternative plan that suggested both abolishing Lincolnville Police Department and not hiring a replacement for a town office administrative assistant.

Lincolnville resident Paul Crowley said the town would save approximately $100,000 by eliminating the police department, and an additional $30,000 to 50,000 by not hiring a replacement employee in the town office.

"My view is, cut some big places where you'll save some real dollars," Crowley said. "And the most obvious place is to recommend the voters at town meeting…eliminate the police department. Those are big dollars."

Select Board member Rosey Gerry said if the police force is abolished, Chief Ron Young is contracted to receive approximately $39,000 in pay and benefits for six months, or until he secures employment.

Select Board member Jason Trundy said despite Crowley's urging to "take a stand," he was going to avoid weighing in on the issue.

"It's almost like the population of this town is divided right down the middle about whether we have a police department or whether we don't," Trundy said. "I personally think it would be a mistake for this board to jump into the middle of that and recommend anything in either direction.

"I'm gonna do exactly what you recommended we not do and I'm gonna stand back and I'm gonna let the citizens of this town decide what they want."

Kinney warned that staffing change caused by not hiring another town office assistant would affect the quality of service to which Lincolnville residents are accustomed, and affect how remaining employees make use of their time.

"What I would do as an administrator would be to come to [the select board] with a list of the discretionary things we do at the town office with a time associated with those and say, 'We get rid of this, we can save so many hours a year, we get rid of that, we can save so many hours a year,'" Kinney said. "And I'd put the ball in your court to say, 'Let's do that.'"

Also discussed was the possibility of reducing the number of hours worked by Lincolnville Code Enforcement Officer Frank Therio, which could require employing a part-time plumber to accommodate septic inspections on short notice.

"My personal opinion is…I think we pay [Therio] too much," said Gerry. "I understand that, but the other thing is, I think he does a pretty good job…I will tell you that in my experience, he jumps through hoops — and not because I'm a selectman — but he jumps through hoops to take care of any needs I have.

"That's the kind of service that David's talking about, those are the kind of things that I particularly like…Do I like that and do I notice that whatever that little bit's costing me on my tax dollar? I don't notice that, I don't feel I notice that too much."

According to the Lincolnville town website, the Select Board and Budget Committee will meet in a joint session at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 19 to continue budget deliberations.

Camden Herald reporter Bane Okholm can be reached at 236-8511 ext. 304 or by email at bokholm@courierpublicationsllc.com.