South Thomaston to present $1 million budget to voters

By George Chappell | Jan 30, 2013
Photo by: George Chappell

South Thomaston — The town will present a budget of almost $1 million to voters at the annual meeting.

Budget committee members met on three consecutive nights, Jan. 22-24, to go over the line items presented in the package. On the first night, the committee elected Moira Paddock as chairman and Donna Withington as recording secretary.

Selectmen opened the meeting and turned it over to the committee. Board Chairman Jeffrey Northgraves gave a general overview of the budget, stating that an across-the-board cost of living increase of 1.7 percent was given to employees by the selectmen. He also warned the committee of possible changes because of proposed cuts in state revenue sharing.

Northgraves seemed to be prophetic as the committee eventually approved a budget of $995,415, showing a 4 percent increase over last year's budget.

The town could face a loss of $99,635 in revenue sharing if the governor's proposed cuts are made.

Town Clerk Barbara Black announced that ambulance revenues should increase for the second year owing to better billing practices, and that the vehicle registration fee charged by the town had increased from $3 to $4 per vehicle.

The fire department's budget was the highlight of the first night at $103,844. Assistant Fire Chief Gerald Harjula and Deputy Fire Chief David Elwell presented a 30-year plan for purchasing fire trucks. It was a plan that had been submitted to the selectmen and placed on the new town warrant.

The truck committee's PowerPoint presentation gave the overview for replacement of vehicles.

The three-member board of selectmen will dwindle to one individual following the second announcement of a board members departure.

Selectman Patrick "Mike" Florance said at the Jan. 9 board meeting that he will resign before his term is up owing to health reasons. The other board members accepted his resignation with regret.

Nomination papers are available for the two-year term for selectman, assessor and overseer of the poor, to fill the vacancy for the remainder of Florance's term, due to expire March 2015.

Former Fire Chief Wayne Brown has returned papers to the town office for Florance's seat. Two other names pending are Sonja Sleeper and David Eaton, who have taken out papers but not returned them as of Jan. 29.

Last month Selectman and Board Chairman Jeffrey Northgraves announced that he would retire after 10 years on the job. As a result, nomination papers are available for one selectmen, assessor and overseer of the poor for a term of three years to fill his seat. So far, budget committee member Dorothy Meriwether has returned completed papers for the post.

The papers are available at the town office. The filing deadline is at the close of business Thursday, Feb. 7.

The town meeting is Tuesday, March 26.

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