Warren breezes through town meeting

By Beth A. Birmingham | Mar 26, 2014
Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham Out-going Chairman Doug Pope, right, addresses the audience at Warren town meeting March 25. Also shown are Town Manager Elaine Clark and selectman Ed LaFlamme.

Warren — It took a little more than one hour for 67 residents to approve all articles at Warren's town meeting March 25.

"This year by far has been the best process," said out-going Board of Selectmen Chairman Doug Pope in an address to the audience.

"It was a very collaborative effort," said Pope, explaining how the selectmen and the Budget Committee went line by line.

The gross municipal budget was whittled to $2,192,627 — down from last year's approved budget of $2,264,729.

The net budget after deducting all revenues is $846,187, according Town Manager Elaine Clark.

"The Budget Committee and selectmen agreed on everything except for one line item," said Clark in a March 5 email. "This demonstrates the collegiality of the proceedings and mutual respect of the two entities," she added.

The biggest factor in the budget — which shows a slight increase of $5,100 or 0.62 percent from 2013 — was assuming the projection on the State Registrar's website accurate for revenue sharing. Last year, Warren's figure was $270,000. This year's figure shows $72,000 less or $198,000.

The departments saw the following adjustments from last year:

— General government, decrease of $6,278 or 14 percent, to $434,705 — with $4,561 coming from administration and $5,734 from code and planning

— Protections, increased to $441,870 from last year's $412,706 — with general protection up 10 percent, including $18,912 in hydrants and $12,999 increase in ambulance

— Operations, slightly down at $614,492 from $616,967 — as Public Works had a decrease of $4,353

— Culture and Recreation came in at $88,393, increased 16.5 percent — with the library seeing a $10,991 increase

— Unclassified dropped 13 percent or $45,363 to $307,573 — facilities and grounds was cut 15 percent or $19,083; personnel was decreased by 11 percent or $15,544; and social services and contributions took a 28 percent hit, down $10,736

— Capital improvement dropped the most, being cut by $60,299 or 16.5 percent to $304,979

The budget numbers include the actual Knox County budget and the revenue sharing projected, noted Clark.

Warren, like the four other towns in Regional School Unit 40, await the school budget, which is in the works.

Also on the warrant was to elect members to the budget committee. Terms that had expired but were reelected for three more years are Margaret Grant, Joseph Johnson, Roger Peabody, and Bradley Beverage.

Grant Watmough continues to serve until 2016 after filling the seat created by the resignation of Robert Carter late last year. And John Crabtree was elected to take the place of William Lufkin, who was elected to the Board of Selectmen.

At secret ballot elections held March 24, William Lufkin was voted to fill the vacancy of out-going selectman Dan Davey, who did not seek reelection. Wayne Luce was the sole candidate to replace Pope.

Incumbent Dennis Wooster was elected to fill a three-year term on the school board, while Robert Graham, John Cooke, and Mark Anderson were all named to fill three open three-year terms on the Warren Sanitary District.

Courier Publications reporter Beth A. Birmingham can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 125 or via email at bbirmingham@courierpublicationsllc.com.

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