April 05, 2020

Financial condition in Hermon ‘good’

HERMON – The Town Council received word Thursday night that Hermon is in “good financial condition.”

Town Auditor Ron Smith reported a $1.4 million surplus in the town’s fund balance. In late September, the council recommended spending proposals for the money, which residents will see on the November ballot.

“You have put yourself clearly in a position much more superior than other municipalities in the state,” Smith said. He said he thought Hermon is a “very well-off community, probably in the top 10 percent in the state of Maine.”

According to the town’s charter, if the fund balance exceeds 25 percent of the audited expenditures of the previous year, the additional funds should be placed in reserve accounts.

November’s ballot questions will ask voters to place $728,000 of the fund balance into the fire state reserve account, and $188,000 into the town’s Recreation Department. So while there is a surplus, a majority of the funds have been allocated if voters approve.

“We need to look seriously at putting a portion of that back into next year’s taxes,” Councilor Louis “Buzzy” LaChance said. In the future, using a portion of the money for tax relief is a possibility, council Chairman Alden Brown said after the meeting.

Councilors also approved spending $5,000 from the fire station reserve account to begin surveying the donated land on Route 2 for the future fire station. The donor has offered two parcels of land, both near the Hermon High School and the Central Maine Harley-Davidson business.

Many councilors were cautious, hesitant to spend money to survey land for a fire station that residents have yet to approve. Once discussed, they all agreed the land eventually would be beneficial and decided to proceed with the surveying.

During the previous meeting, the council signed a resolve opposing the Taxpayer Bill of Rights. TABOR is Question 1 on the Nov. 7 ballot and will limit spending growth at the state, county, municipal and school district levels and require voter approval for tax or fee increases.

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