SKOWHEGAN — Residents will go to the annual Town Meeting on Monday night looking at a proposed $8,815,828 spending package recommended by the Board of Selectmen for the coming year.

The amount is about $46,000 less than the current budget total.

The amount to be raised from taxation — about $5.86 million — is up about 1.3 percent because of a drop in revenue and less money being taken from surplus in the proposed budget.

The current tax rate is $16.20 for every $1,000 in property valuation. The final tax rate will not be known until after the final budget votes Monday, along with votes on the county and school budgets.

Included in the spending is a proposal to take $700,000 from surplus to offset taxes in the coming year, just in case state revenue sharing money is withheld, Town Manager John Doucette Jr. said.

Big-ticket spending proposals Monday night are to include:

• $1,102,790 for the Police Department.

• $745,445 for the Fire Department.

• $804,881 for solid waste management.

• A combined $1,274,796 for Public Works summer roads, winter road and vehicle maintenance.

• $871,905 for debt service.

Voters will be asked to spend $1,269,233 for general government, which includes a wage increase of $2,000 requested by Town Clerk/Town Treasurer Gail Pelotte for recently obtaining full certification. That increase is in addition to a 2 percent cost-of-living adjustment in her salary and a 1 percent merit increase.

Pelotte, an elected official, now is paid $41,943 per year.

Voters are allowed to decrease spending proposals, but they cannot increase the amount on any of the articles, Doucette said.

The highest amount voters can approve for spending in the coming year is $8,890,018.

Spending requests, submitted by petition from 12 social service organizations, including the public library, all appear on the Town Meeting warrant, along with recommendations from the Board of Selectmen and the Budget Committee. Several recommendations by the two boards are for amounts lower that the requested figures.

A $10,000 request for restoration of the Skowhegan Indian statue received a recommendation of no funding from selectmen and for the full amount by the Budget Committee.

The Chamber of Commerce requested $24,000; selectmen recommended $10,000.

Selectmen and the Budget Committee both recommend no funding for Kennebec Behavioral Health. Selectmen also recommend no funding for Community Health and Counseling Services and Skowhegan Community Food Cupboard.

Doucette said funding for sanitary sewer system improvements on the warrant is necessary to comply with the state Department of Environmental Protection requirements to reduce or eliminate sewage overflows into the Kennebec River. The warrant proposes to borrow up to $11,880,000 for the project.

The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. in the Skowhegan Opera House. Townwide elections are scheduled for Tuesday. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367
[email protected]

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