NORRIDGEWOCK — Expenses ranging from fire hydrant rental costs, cemetery maintenance and increased rates for workers’ compensation mean that residents face an increase in the town budget.
Residents will also offer input on a potential location for a new fire station and road sand for residential use.
Selectmen will present a $1.95 million budget at Monday’s Town Meeting, which offers a 9.5 percent increase from the current budget of $1.76 million. In addition, the amount of revenue the town will have to generate is up about 15 percent, from $950,954 to $1,093,959, which is what the board of selectmen and budget committee are recommending for the upcoming year.
“It was a hard choice, but we really didn’t want to have to cut services,” said Town Manager Michelle Flewelling. “Our services are minimal as it is and a lot of what contributed to the increased costs are things that are beyond our control.”
The meeting will be at 7:30 p.m. at Mill Stream Elementary School, where residents will be asked to consider 44 articles on the meeting warrant.
In January, selectmen made a preliminary agreement to buy property at 3 Awema Way as the site of a new fire station. The cost of the property, including assessor’s fees and environmental testing, would be about $36,500 said Flewelling.
There is also a proposal to raise and spend $2,000 for road sand that would be available to residents in the winter months. The supply would be separate from the town’s road supply, although if the town were to run out of sand for the roads selectmen would be authorized to draw from the supply.
The proposal arises after the town ran into a shortage of sand this winter, forcing the town manager and public works department to make a decision to cut off the sand supply to residents. The proposal is the recommendation of the Maine Municipal Association, said Flewelling.
Flewelling is recommending a slightly lower budget, about $950 less than the other officials, and said that many of the proposed increases are inevitable. The cost for fire hydrant rentals has jumped about $30,000 or 55 percent, according to the 2013 town report.
That is because water district rates have increased due to a water line replacement on Route 8, said Flewelling.
The budget for the cemetery department is also proposed to increase by $3,000 because of new state regulations requiring increased maintenance. Norridgewock has nine cemeteries, said Flewelling.
Other items residents are being asked to approve include $257,016 for administration, $119,820 for public safety, $83,170 for the fire department, $525,268 for public works and $120,000 for road overlays including $60,000 from undesignated funds.
Selectmen are also proposing an ordinance that would allow residents to get benefits from Efficiency Maine, a group that offers rebates and incentives for making energy-saving improvements to homes and businesses.
“It’s a really positive thing that we hope to become a part of, especially with the coming of natural gas to the area,” said Flewelling.
Elections will be held from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the school. There are no contested races.
Rachel Ohm— 612-2368 email@example.com