NEWPORT — Newport selectmen will begin meeting at 9:30 a.m. Saturday and will meet “all day if they have to” to craft a 1998 budget proposal, according to interim Town Manager Evelyn Ricker.
Once completed, the budget will be given the final going-over by the town’s budget committee before the annual town meeting March 7.
At recent selectmen’s meetings, department heads presented their proposed budgets to the selectmen, and all indications are that the budget will increase next year. A major increase is in the public works budget, which was submitted with a $40,000 increase in road construction and paving and a nearly $53,000 increase in tipping fees for solid waste removal.
Aside from budgets and taxes, voters will be considering a move to a different fiscal year at next year’s town meeting. A straw vote is being considered to see if the town will align its fiscal year, now Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, with SAD 48’s year, which starts in June.
According to Newport Chairman of the Board Al Worden, the process to change a town’s fiscal year can take up to two years, because dates on such financial obligations as tax anticipation notes and loans all need to be renegotiated. By polling voters this spring, Worden said town officials would know whether they should begin the process.
Ricker said nomination papers are available for a variety of positions. They must be returned by Jan. 19. Voting will take place the day before the town meeting.
The open positions are:
Board of Selectmen, two seats, now held by Tom Breitweg and John Buckland.
SAD 48 board of directors, one seat, now filled by Lynn Fournier.
Newport Sanitary District board of trustees, one position, now filled by Wayne Spraggins.
Newport Water District board of trustees, two five-year positions, now filled by Richard Banton and Peter Friend.
Budget committee, five three-year positions, one three-year position with one year left, and one three-year position with two years left.