ST. ALBANS — Priorities for the 1993 municipal budget were reviewed at last week’s meeting of the St. Albans selectmen.
According to Town Manager Larry Post in a telephone interview, the budget is not final but he expects a minimum tax rate increase. The 1992 tax rate was $14.50 per $1,000 of valuation. Post said the rate could reach $15 per $1,000 valuation, but not more. Increases in the municipal budget and an anticipated increase in the local assessment for SAD 48 likely will drive the rate upward.
Two major road projects are proposed in the community in 1993. These include work on the Ripley Road and a continuation of the community’s paving projects.
Post has proposed pay increases for town employees in 1993. He pointed out that like municipal employees across the region St. Albans employees went without pay increases in 1992 in an attempt to hold the line. Post has suggested pay increases of about a quarter an hour for most employees.
Another factor in the development of the St. Albans budget will be preparation of the Somerset County budget. Like administrators in neighboring towns and throughout the county, Post is looking to the county commissioners to bring the county budget increases in line with what local communities can afford. Projections in some county departments, he said, are not likely to be well-received by town administrators.
Focusing on municipal business, Post said, selectmen held off approval of the Fire Department’s exposure-control plan. The board was concerned that blanket approval of the plan could obligate the town to about $3,000 worth of hepatitis-B shots for up to 40 firefighters. The plan was tabled pending approval of the town budget in March.
In addition, Post said, the town needs to address the necessity of conforming to a plan under a state requirement. Towns previously were excluded from complying with the hepatitis and AIDS-exposure control mandates from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Post said. More recently, however, the state is requiring the plans, and adding to the costs of all fire departments.
Addressing emergency needs, Post said, First Selectman Brian Hanson has called for reconsideration of the town’s opportunities for Emergency 911 service. The Maine State Police and the Somerset County Sheriff’s Department have approached the town to provide the service, but no decisions were made. The subject will be discussed at the board’s Dec. 14 meeting.
A second meeting is planned in December to review the continuing development of the 1993 budget. The board will meet at 7 p.m. Dec. 14 and Dec. 21.