LINCOLN — After weeks of deliberations, residents will have an opportunity to comment on the town’s budget proposal on Monday, June 17.
The public hearing scheduled for 7 p.m. is the first of two. After a second hearing at 7 p.m. Monday, June 24, the council will adopt a budget.
The total town budget of $2,541,285 represents a decrease of $405 compared with last year. However, the $1,260,620 proposed from local taxes represents an increase of $152,500, or 13.8 percent compared with last year.
The tax rate is estimated to increase by $1.88 per $1,000 of property value. For a taxpayer with a home valued at $55,000, the increase would be $103.40. Town officials said the town’s budget proposal represents 53 cents of the $1.88 increase in the tax rate, or $29.15 for a home valued at $55,000.
“Our problem is the revenue,” said Town Council Chairman Dave Joyce. “Residents voted in the school tax increase, so who are we to argue?”
Although the town’s overall spending has dropped, the amount proposed from local taxes has risen because the town’s revenues are expected to drop by nearly $153,000, or 10.7 percent compared with last year.
The town budget includes a proposal to create the position of public safety director, who would manage both the police and the fire departments. Although the council has not voted to create the position, officials gave Aho the green light to advertise for applicants.
The proposal includes privatizing snow plowing for seven of the 57 miles of roads the town currently plows. Those roads include Frost Street, Bagley Mountain road, the Sweet Road and Town Farm Road. It also contains funds for hiring a private contractor to grade gravel roads. The manager said the town could save money by privatizing.
The Public Works Department budget includes one less employee beginning September 1.