SKOWHEGAN — While the new fiscal year has already begun, Skowhegan residents are set to vote on the proposed $12.58 million municipal budget at Saturday’s long-delayed Town Meeting.

The annual meeting is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. at the grandstand at the Skowhegan State Fairgrounds.

The warrant for the meeting lists 60 articles, including requests for funding and updated ordinances.

The Maine Department of Economic Community and Development guidance for large spectator events will be followed, Town Manager Christine Almand said Tuesday.

Those who choose to attend are asked to wear masks, practice physical distancing, increase hand washing and avoid sharing items and common-touch surfaces.

Selectmen approved a proposed $12,577,960.50 budget, Almand said Tuesday. The proposed spending plan represents a $492,550 increase from the fiscal year just completed.

The largest increases for wages and benefits total more than $200,000. The capital fund reserve accounts for road improvements and sidewalks is also slated for a increase of about $130,000.

Almand said the increase to operational revenues was up 4%, though the net budget increase was 3.4%.

“The largest change is that we increased our excise tax by $200,000, because historically we bring in $1.5 million worth of excise taxes,” Almand said. “We’re just using a more realistic number.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has delayed the Town Meeting, which is typically held in June. Almand said this year is unusual because the new fiscal term has began yet voter have yet to approve a budget.

Other budget proposals include:

• $1,628,815 for the Police Department.

• $970,703 for the Fire Department.

• 912,817 for solid waste and recycling.

• $767,137 for Public Works winter road maintenance.

• $574,022 for Public Works summer road maintenance.

• $552,075 for other protections, including animal control, street lights and fire hydrants.

• $175,000 for the Skowhegan Free Public Library, reduced from its original request of $235,000, a 95% increase from its request of the previous year.

Almand said the library’s request came before the coronavirus pandemic. She said she asked that request be reconsidered, and the library staff reduced the amount by $60,000.

The meeting agenda also includes a vote to appropriate $500,000 toward the Public Safety Building Reserve Account. This is not for the community to raise and appropriate, Almand said. Instead, it is to come out of the town’s undesignated fund balance, or surplus.

The same amount was requested and approved last year. Having $1 million in this reserve account will reduce the bond request in the future, according to Almand.

The warrant for the town meeting and details on funding proposals can be found on the town’s website — skowhegan.org.

Another warrant on the agenda includes the option for voters to adopt a Needle Exchange Program & Needle Disposal ordinance, which has been recommended for passage by the Board of Selectmen.

Almand said she and Police Chief David Bucknam received information previously on a needle-exchange program that was authorized through the Maine Center for Disease Control & Prevention and operating out of a car trunk on a street corner.

She said adopting the ordinance would allow the town to create rules and restrictions, such as disallowing remote needle-exchange programs.

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