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St. George residents back budget

By Stephen Betts | May 14, 2019
Photo by: Stephen Betts Mike Mayo, right, moderates the St. George annual town meeting Tuesday night, May 14.

St. George — St. George residents overwhelmingly approved Tuesday night, May 14, a $3.26 million municipal budget for 2019-2020, which represents a 7 percent increase.

The main question before residents was whether to accept the budget as recommended by the Select Board or the one recommended by the Budget Committee. The difference was slightly more than $14,000, with the Select Board backing a 3.5 percent raise for employees and the Budget Committee 3 percent.

The other difference in their recommendations was the amount set aside in contingency for the possible transition to a new town manager. Current Town Manager Tim Polky said last month he agreed to serve for three years and that time is up next year. He said he has not formally decided whether to retire in 2020.

On Monday, voters reelected two incumbent Select Board members, Tammy Willey (125 votes) and Jerry Hall (118 votes), who were unopposed on the ballot for three-year terms.

And voters also elected Kristin Saunders Falla (119 votes) and Emily Chadwick (120 votes) to three-year seats on the St. George Municipal School Unit Board. The seats were held by Sherman Hoyt and Terence Driscoll, who did not seek reelection.

The largest account in the budget is public works -- roads and property management -- which was approved at $661,469. This is up about $55,000. The increase is partly because of the town's assuming responsibility for winter maintenance of Route 131, but revenues from the state will offset that expense.

The Town Office budget was approved at $646,940. This is an increase of about $60,000. Much of that is because of benefit increases. In addition, there is money in the budget for the possibility of an interim town manager in 2020.

The solid waste budget was approved at $522,649.

The public safety/fire department budget was approved at $414,951.

The harbors budget was approved at $406,182. This is about a $179,000 increase. The increase is because of the repayment of debt for the voter-approved bond issue for the Cold Storage Road waterfront project.

The social and community service budget was approved at $206,995.

The unclassified budget was approved at $115,141.

The parks and recreation budget was approved at $107,110.

The planning department budget was approved at $104,657.

And the Select Board/assessors budget was approved at $66,393.

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