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Proposed Lincolnville municipal budget sees less than 1% increase

By Susan Mustapich | Apr 06, 2021

LINCOLNVILLE — At the polls June 8, residents will see a proposed 2021-22 municipal budget with $2,265,498 in expenses and less than a 1% impact on property taxes.

The use of non-property tax revenues totaling $1,356,400 will offset expenses. That leaves $909,098 to be raised in property tax, a 0.88% increase over last year.

Town Administrator David Kinney pointed out that in 2020, the Board of Selectmen decreased the municipal portion of the property tax bill due to uncertainty about economic conditions during the pandemic.

For the 2021-22 budget, administration costs of $567,051, recommended by the Board of Selectmen, will increase 23.6%. The increase is due primarily to the creation of a new public facilities director position, Kinney explained.

The facilities director will prepare, administer and oversee budgets for highways and bridges, the harbor, grounds of public facilities, town athletic facilities and public beaches and parks. Some of this work is done in consultation with other town department heads, staff and committees.

The position performs the duties and responsibilities of deputy harbormaster, enforcing state law and the harbor ordinance. The position also supervises parking, and in the absence of a parking attendant, assumes those duties and responsibilities.

Multiple circumstances led to the creation of this position, according to Kinney.

The town's longtime Road Commissioner Bernard Young is not seeking reappointment, Kinney said. Young will stay with Public Works and be paid for part-time work, to cover the transition to the new position.

Voters accepted a new park on the Penobscot Bay in July 2020. In planning to add the park, selectmen decided the town's public parks and grounds required more attention than the current volunteer system can handle, Kinney said.

Another factor was the need to fill the deputy harbormaster position. In October 2020, the Board of Selectmen appointed Kinney harbormaster, after not reappointing longtime Harbormaster Mike Hutchings.

Capital improvement expenses proposed by selectmen, totaling $178,250, are up 34%.

To prepare to purchase the town's solar array at the Ffire department in January 2022, $30,000 is being added for this purpose. The balance in the account is approximately $32,000, and the expected purchase price is $62,000.

Harbor expenses add $30,000 to capital improvements for design and environmental permitting to  rebuild the boat launching ramp at Lincolnville Harbor, a gantry system to lift the east end gangway and a new ladder at the fishermen's hoist.

New capital improvement items include $10,000 for a sidewalk from Breezemere Park to the crosswalk at the library and Boat Club and $27,500 for information technology upgrades at the town office. These upgrades include replacement of the server, a new remote access portal and an expanded email system.

Town office expenses show a nearly 12% increase to $35,674, but this is primarily due to allocating electricity costs of various municipal facilities to a single cost center.

The remaining expense categories show increases around 1% or decreases in spending compared to last year.

Public works, including highways and bridges, transfer station and harbor, is  $1,019,932, down 2%.

Protection, including fire department and animal control, is $268,173, up 1.2%.

Code office, $49,202 is up 1%.

Assessing, $38,950, is up $50.

Municipal support expenses of $21,060 are down 9%, in part due to the sale of the Lincolnville Improvement Association building. These expenses cover ballot clerks, cemeteries, general assistance, Lincolnville Community Library and Megunticook watershed.

Debt service is $58,367, down 2.5%

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