FAIRFIELD — Residents on Monday will have the chance to weigh in on the proposed $5.2 million budget at Town Meeting.

The meeting, which begins at 7 p.m. in the Community Center on Water Street, gives residents the opportunity to have their voices heard on all of the nearly 40 articles on the warrant in this year’s proposal.

The budget proposal, developed by the Budget Committee and endorsed by the Town Council, reduces the current operating budget by more than $111,000 to arrive at just under $5.2 million. Town Manager Michelle Flewelling said this resulted largely from a change in waste management.

In the past, the town worked with the Penobscot Energy Recovery Co., or PERC, an Orrington-based company that collects and disposes of solid municipal waste. Last year the town budgeted about $364,000 to pay PERC. The contract with PERC ends in 2018, and while the town won’t have to pay that amount, there will continue to be a small budget for some municipal tonnage to be removed.

Flewelling said the municipal operating budget will absorb an increase in the Somerset County budget of $15,830 and school budget increase of nearly $69,000, leaving the entire budget down $26,694.19 from last year.

The town also was able to affect by selling off property. One such property, on Eskelund Drive, reduces the budget by ending bond payments on the property.

The municipal budget alone was just under $5.2 million. About $2.8 million would be covered by revenue, and the rest by taxes.

Flewelling said most increases in the budget reflect increases in insurance and utility costs, which are out of the town’s control. She said the town was able to increase its revenue by $110,000 through excise taxes and investment income, which was not something the town had done in past years.

Unlike nearby towns that held their meetings in early March, Fairfield’s annual meeting does not include elections. Municipal elections — including those for town councilors, school board members and water district trustees — are held on the second Tuesday of November.

Some of the larger budget items included in the warrant are more than $202,000 for Lawrence Public Library; over $1 million for the Police Department; more than $1.1 million for the Public Works Department; $260,000 for road, street and sidewalk paving; more than $215,000 for maintaining street lights and fire hydrants; and more than $853,000 for the Fire Department.

The only thing out of the ordinary for Town Meeting involves the property on Eskelund Drive, according to Flewelling. She said the sale of that property gives the town an unexpected $253,000, which would be distributed among the Police, Fire and Public Works departments to put toward replenishing each of their capital reserve funds, which Flewelling said were “desperately underfunded.”

“That will help get them back on track,” she said.

The following day, residents will have the chance to weigh in on the proposed $26.5 million budget for School Administrative District 49. That meeting, which is open to residents of Albion, Benton, Clinton and Fairfield, in scheduled for 7 p.m. in Lawrence Junior High School.

The proposed budget is nearly $327,000 more than the $26.2 million budget from the current academic year. It represents an increase of about 1.25 percent. Initially, Superintendent of Schools Dean Baker had proposed an increase of 6.6 percent, though that figure was lowered to 2.5 percent. The finance committee later slashed that to an increase of slightly more than 1 percent.

To make the cuts, the committee was directed to delete five teaching positions. Before the meeting, when the budget was unveiled, Superintendent of Schools Dean Baker said the budget was “close to being flat” and will result in an overall tax decrease in two of the towns in the school district — Albion and Fairfield — and a tax increase in Benton and Clinton.

After the meeting, the towns will hold a budget referendum on June 12.

Colin Ellis — 861-9253

[email protected]

Twitter: @colinoellis

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.