Originally published in The Weekly Packet, March 28, 2013
Brooklin Town Meeting
Town budget down, paving account up
by Rich Hewitt
The proposed 2013 town budget to go before voters at town meeting this year is more than $300,000 less than last year.
That’s because the town won’t be paying for the renovation work on the town office.
“Last year, the budget included $300,000 for the town office,” Selectman Mike Roy said.
The proposed town budget is $753,375 a decrease of $326,693 from last year. The lower budget reflects the fact that last year, the town made the final payment of $79,131 on a fire truck.
The warrant includes articles to wind up the accounts on those two projects. The selectmen initially had asked voters to appropriate $26,605 to complete the payment on the renovations. That’s the article that appears in the town report.
After a meeting last week where the town’s auditor it was determined there was an unfunded balance of $41,618.
According to Selectman Albie Smith, the town last year voted to spend $300,000 on the renovation project. Of that amount, $67,000 was to be raised from donations. Although the project came in under budget and the town raised $31,000, it still needs funds to cover the bill.
“Rather than take out a loan—we want the town to be debt free—we recommended and the auditor agreed that we would take it from the undesignated reserve,” Smith said.
The selectmen then had to amend the warrant which already had been posted. According to Town Clerk Gigi Hardy, the town can amend the warrant since it has been posted for less than a week. The revised warrant will be posted in the same locations as the original.
Regarding the fire truck, there is still $9,945 in the fire department debt account. The selectmen propose using the funds to help with the final payment on the records vault. The final payment on the vault is $20,600. Roy noted that once that final payment has been made, the town won’t have any outstanding debt.
The board has also recommended raising and appropriating $20,000 for a fire truck reserve account. Smith said that by setting aside funds, the town won’t be hit with large payments the next time it needs a new truck.
There are increases in the budget that will offset some of those decreases. The largest single increase comes in the paving account which will jump from $50,000 to $75,000.
There are several new articles on the warrant this year. One asks the town to accept land on Center Harbor Road that has been deeded to the town in order to establish the legal boundaries of that road. The town had previously accepted Center Harbor Road as a town road and has maintained it as such, but has never held the formal title to the 33-foot wide roadway.
The board previously said it is not legal for the town to do work on what essentially is a private road. Landowners on either side of the road already have deeded land to the center line to the town. Acceptance of the land reconfirms the previous acceptance of the road as a town road.
Voters will be asked to adopt a revised Site Plan Review Ordinance and to authorize the town to accept donations and grants to fund the construction of two public, outdoor tennis courts on the Brooklin school grounds and to authorize the Tennis Courts for Brooklin Committee to oversee construction of those courts.
Planning and fundraising for the project has been under way for some time. According to Selectman Deborah Brewster, the article would establish the board as the fiscal agent for the committee. That, she said, will allow donors to the project to receive a tax deduction for their donations.
A petitioned article seeks to limit corporate financial influence in the elections process and to reject the idea that corporations must be treated the same as people in the political arena. The non-binding article calls on Congress to amend the U.S. Constitution in that way.
Town of Brooklin annual town meeting
Voting—Friday, April 5. Polls at town office are open from 2 to 8 p.m.
Warrant—Saturday, April 6, 9 a.m.