Selecboard raises on warrant in Hebron

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HEBRON — Voters will be asked to approve a Fiscal 2018 municipal budget that supports an increase in the winter roads account, a new plow truck and raises for the Board of Selectmen’s salaries, when Annual Town Meeting gets underway Saturday, March 17.

Action on the 57-article warrant, which includes the annual election of town officers, begins at 10 a.m. at the Hebron Station School on Hebron Road. The overall budget impact will not be known until the SAD 17 school budget is approved in June.

Additionally, the total amount being raised in this year’s warrant will not be known until selectmen receive a recommendation from the town’s auditors as to how much would be safe to take from the general fund to apply to the purchase of a plow for the Highway Department.

Last year the town raised and appropriated about $790,000.

Depending on that answer, the board may be forced to move that the town appropriate nothing and bring the issue back before the town at a later special town meeting to borrow the difference instead of raising it, said Selectman Dan Eichorn.

First on the warrant is the election of a town moderator to oversee the town meeting, a selectman/assessor, Moody Library Trustee, SAD 17 Director, Road Commissioner and two Budget Committee members.

Incumbent Selectman James Reid has announced he will not run for re-election. Beth Olsen has announced her candidacy for the position.

Action of the Annual Town Meeting budget item then gets underway beginning with a request to cover the town’s 2017 overdraft of $24,110, which was largely caused by an overdraft in the winter roads account of $21,553.

Eichorn said voters in Hebron, which runs on a calendar year, so authorize the board each year to continue spending past the end of the previous calendar year, within certain limits and based on the prior year’s appropriations from January 1 to town meeting.

The amounts raised in this year’s town meeting warrant will apply to all amounts spent from January 1 of this year until December 31.

In other action, the Board of Selectmen is requesting a raise of $6,000 to bring the salaries of the three-person board from $24,000 to $30,000. If approved, the action would increase the chairman’s salary from $12,000 to $15,000 and the two other board members from $6,000 to $7,500.

The town operates under a three-person Board of Selectmen/ town meeting format and does not employ a Town Manager or administrative assistant or other form of administrative help. According to the board, this would be the second raise for the selectmen and the third raise for the chairman since 2005.

Selectmen are also looking for a $5,000 increase in the Public Works budget for the care and maintenance of town equipment. Last year the town raised $35,000 and spent $30,863. This year the board is requesting $40,000. The Budget Committee recommends $40,000.

Voters will also be asked to increase the budget for the care and maintenance of winter roads from $120,000 to $140,000. Last year the town spent $141,553. The Budget Committee recommends $140,000.

On the other spectrum, voters will be asked to raise and appropriate $20,000 less than the previous year’s appropriation for the care and maintenance of summer roads. Last year voters ok’d $100,000 but only spent $76,147. This year, the request is for $80,000. The Budget Committee also recommends $80,000.

Social Services 

In the category of general assistance and social services , voters will be asked to raise and appropriate $2,000 for General Assistance fund. Last year, voters raised $2,000 but only spent $807.74. The Budget Committee also recommends $2,000.

Voters will be asked to raise and appropriate $889 to help support the Androscoggin Home Care & Hospice; $950 to help support the Tri-County Mental Health Services. The Budget Committee concurs with both recommendations.

Voters will be asked to raise and appropriate $500 to help support Safe Voices, the same amount as last year; $350 to help support Sexual Assault Prevention & Response Services and $2,525 for Community Concepts. The Budget Committee concurs with each request.

$1,000 is being requested to help support Seniors Plus. Last year $500 was raised and spent. The Budget Committee recommends $500 for this year.

Voters will ask to raise and appropriate $575 for the American Red Cross, the same amount raised and spent last year. The Budget Committee also recommends $575. A total of $700 is being recommended to raise and appropriate to help support LifeFlight. It is the same amount raised and spent last year. The Budget Committee also recommends $700.

A request for $100 to support Maine Public television is not being recommended by the Budget Committee. Last year, voters failed to raise any money for the public entity.

Other requests

In other budget requests, voters will be asked to raise and appropriate:

  • $20,000 for health insurance, a decrease $27,616 from last year’s budget.
  • $120,000 for the Town Office expense account, a decrease of $30,000 from last year’s request amount.
  • $2,000 for the Planning Board, an increase of $1,000 from last year’s request.
  • $85,000 for the Transfer Station, a decreased of $10,000 from last year’s appropriation.
  • $45,000 for the Fire Department, the same as last year’s appropriation.

The Budget Committee recommends the same amounts.

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