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Fat-free budget approved
DIXFIELD -- The Town of Dixfield's proposed municipal budget was pared Monday by selectmen and finance committee to a 5.85 percent increase, bringing the total to $2,066,860.
What had an 11.83 percent was slashed by $116,601. Town Manager Eugene Skibitsky cut the following amounts from the 2013 budget: Payroll, $4,135; Tax Assessment, $1,020; Executive Department, $10,155; Police Department, $5,745; Public Works, $11,767, all while losing $2,242 in revenue sharing. All of which places them above the LD 1 limit by $58,207.
“As I see it you have one of a few options,” noted Skibitsky. “You can present the town with the actual budget and see if they approve it and let them know we need to raise the levy limit by $58,000. You could see if you can find $58,000 somewhere in the budget to cut that I couldn't lay my hands on or you could find it in revenue.”
“People are going to want to trim the fat off any budget they see. This one is pretty lean. There is no fat to cut,” noted Selectman Norine Clarke.
With the town's surplus being in a healthy state at $200,000, taxpayers could be asked to approve taking the funds from that to cover the overage, but that will only fix things until next year, when, due to the cost increases, the budget increases again.
As selectmen and finance members brought up ideas to cut even further, including the hours of the town office, while trying to fill the position of long-time Deputy Clerk, Charlotte Collins, Finance Committee member, Cathy Dorion noted, “You aren't going to find someone with skills to come in and work for $28,000 a year. It's just not going to happen.”
“Besides that, we would destroy morale,” noted Skibitsky. “We are above that and just can't do it.”
Selectmen looked over the numbers and in the end voted to approve the proposed 2013 budget, but with only four of the seven finance committee members present, no action could be taken.
The finance committee requested that the selectmen allow them to look to change their bylaws to only require seven members as opposed to the current 11 that they need. A decision is expected to be made before the draft warrant is reviewed on Monday.