OAKLAND — Residents approved a $4.49 million municipal budget Tuesday night with little discussion on proposals from the Town Council and the Budget and Advisory committees.

The $4,493,181 budget is up just under 4 percent from the current $4.35 million budget but is not expected to generate a tax increase, since the town has had about a 5 percent increase in revenue this year from new construction.

“Things are really looking good for our town,” Town Manager Gary Bowman told the roughly 60 people that attended the meeting Tuesday night at Messalonskee High School.

In opening remarks, Bowman told the crowd that the town has accomplished much in the last year, including the development of a new downtown committee to look at ways to improve downtown; the establishment of a new annual summer festival, OakFest; and the start of construction of a police station.

Items approved for the 2016-2017 budget Tuesday night include $440,425 for administration, $128,744 for the public library, $274,325 for fire and rescue and $714,474 for the Police Department.

The town has a public works and road improvement budget of $960,259 that does not include any money to come from taxation. Instead, the money for public works and road improvements will be funded completely by excise tax, tax increment financing revenue and the state’s Local Road Assistance Program.


There was little discussion about the budget Tuesday, with just one resident commenting during the meeting.

Eric Sharp told the council that he thought more money should be raised for community service organizations, which this year were budgeted to receive $13,250, up from $12,750 last year.

“I would hope the town would show more compassion for these organizations,” Sharp said.

The council voted this year to cap donations to most charities at $500, Bowman said, with the exception of some local organizations such as the Oakland Food Bank and Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter, which received larger donations.

The budget for community service includes donations to 15 organizations and projects, including the American Red Cross, Crisis and Counseling Centers, the Family Violence Project and the Kennebec Valley Community Action Program.

Two council members, Donald Borman and Mark Fisher, said they agreed that more money should be allocated to community service programs.


“There are different philosophies,” Borman said. “Some people think that these organizations should try to be self-sufficient, but at the same time a lot of people in our community use them. I agree we should rethink how much we give. It would raise our budget but these are services that support the people in our town.”

No changes were made to the amount of money proposed for the community organizations.

Also Tuesday night, three residents were recognized for their hard work and dedication to the town. Jean Ponitz, who is credited with starting the Oakland Flower Project and beautifying downtown, received the Spirit of America Award. Mike Willey, chairman of the town’s building committee, also received the award.

Deputy Town Clerk Kathy Paradis was recognized with the town’s inaugural Commitment to Excellence Award, a new award that recognizes a town employee for efforts throughout the year.

“Kathy is a powerhouse,” Bowman said in honoring her. “She does so much work for the town in her downtime. I look up to her and try to copy what she does. She’s absolutely amazing.”

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

[email protected]

Twitter: @rachel_ohm

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