SKOWHEGAN — The town is set to make the largest payment on the planned public safety building and that amount of nearly $592,000 is one of the primary reasons for an increase in the municipal budget that residents will consider next week at Town Meeting.

The meeting is scheduled for Monday at 7 p.m. at the Skowhegan Opera House and residents will review a proposed $15.7 million town budget before voting on it. The town’s current budget stands at about $13.6 million. Voting for municipal and other elections will be held Tuesday, with polls open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. in the Council Room in the Municipal Building.

Residents last year OK’d an initial payment of about $140,000 for the public safety building and after the much larger payment this year, the amount would decline in subsequent years.

Work has begun at the corner of East Madison Road and Dunlop Lane where the $8.25 million building will be constructed. It will house the fire and police departments and officials plan to hold a groundbreaking ceremony later this month.

Other cost increases that are impacting the town budget this year are wages and benefits, which are up more than 17%, at $7.2 million. This is largely due to pay scale adjustments and restructuring in some municipal departments, including the Fire Department, according to Town Manager Christine Almand.

If residents approve the municipal budget, it would result in four new positions — three at the Fire Department and another position in the town clerk’s office. Town leaders have restructured full-time positions at the fire station, adjusting working hours from a 53-hour week to 42 hours. Almand said the change is in line with what other towns in the region are doing.


Meanwhile, capital reserve funding is up 19%, with the majority of the money to be used for sidewalks and roads. The Town Meeting warrant calls for just over $1 million in spending, up $260,000 from last year.

Some of the top expenditures in the 68-article warrant are nearly $2 million for the Police Department, $1.2 million for fire operations, about $946,000 for solid waste and recycling, and around $629,000 for parks and recreation.

Officials are also proposing to use up to $1.85 million in surplus. Under this request, $75,000 would be placed in the Opera House reserve account and $1.7 million to lower the tax commitment.

There are two contested elections in Skowhegan next week. Two positions are open on the Board of Selectmen and three spots are open on the Maine School Administrative District 54 board of directors.

Incumbents Steven Govoni and Paul York are vying for another term as selectmen, and are facing challenges from Benjamin Ducharme and Harvey Austin Jr.

Incumbent Michael Lambke is one of the candidates seeking a term on the SAD 54 board, and Rebecca Chretien, Sara Smith and Timothy Williams also are seeking seats.

Voters also will decide whether to OK amendments and replacement policies to five existing ordinances, including ones having to do with property maintenance and street naming and house numbering.

Residents on Monday will be asked whether they authorize the town to purchase the property at 8 Mount Pleasant Ave. The $95,000 expense would be paid out of a tax increment financing account and would benefit the planned Skowhegan River Park, specifically trail access near the property.

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