Four percent increase expected in Hope budget

Ambulance, road costs rise significantly
By Louis Bettcher | Apr 09, 2018

Hope — A proposed municipal budget for the 2018-2019 fiscal year in Hope reflects a total municipal budget of $3,672,972. This is an increase of $154,628 or 4 percent from the previous year's budget.

The municipal budget in its beginning stages reflects municipal expenses of $996,712, which is an increase of 16 percent or approximately $143,000 from the previous year. The town's estimated revenue for the coming year has increased to $655,700, which is up approximately $130,000 or 24 percent.

The largest increase in the preliminary budget is in the town's ambulance service cost center. In light of renegotiating its contract with Northeast Mobile Health, the town is expected to pay $41,019 in the next year for emergency services provided by the company. This is an increase of approximately $31,000 or 300 percent from the approximate $10,000 allocated in last year's budget.

The budget for maintaining the roads in Hope is also up, by approximately $91,000 or 23 percent, for a total of $482,144. Last year approximately $391,000 was budgeted for roads, but increases in ongoing repair and maintenance costs, along with an annual paving bid, which has increased by over $100,000, contributed to this year's higher budget. Some of these increases were offset by the town reducing the amount allocated for the department's supplies by approximately $40,000.

General administration costs have increased by approximately $9,200 or 20 percent. One of the expenses contributing to this increase is a software license purchase for $15,000, an increase of roughly $5,000 from the previous year. The administrative salaries for the town have decreased overall by 1 percent or $2,100 from the previous year, as the result of a reduction in health insurance. Last year the town allocated $21,000 for health insurance; they are budgeting approximately $12,000 for the 2018-2019 fiscal year.

The total public safety budget is estimated at $101,149, which includes the bond payment on the town's fire station as well as all other operating costs. This year the town will be paying approximately $48,000 toward the fire station bond, which is a reduction of $1,600 from the previous year.

Other town budget lines are proposed as follows:

Animal control -- $6,890, up $450 or 6 percent.

Municipal building -- $11,925, up $1,155 or 10 percent.

Recreation department -- $6,450, up $2,050 or 46 percent.

Cemeteries -- $5,800, down $1.924 or 24 percent.

The sanitation budget is estimated at $54,462, which is approximately the same as last year. The town is also allocating the same amount for general assistance as they did the previous year -- $1,000.

The budget is voted on by townspeople at the annual town meeting, which will be held on June 14 at 6:30 p.m. The Hope Town Office is located at 441 Camden Rd.

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