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Public Hearing Budget 04/11/2017

South Berwick Town Council
Public Hearing
Fiscal Year 2017/2018 Budget
April 11, 2017

Council Chairman Russell Abell opened the hearing at 6:30pm.  Councilors present included John C. Kareckas, Laura Leber and Thomas A. Chase.  Town Manager Perry Ellsworth was also in attendance.  Councilor John James was not present.

The purpose of the hearing was to receive public input on the proposed budget for fiscal year 2017/2018.  

Mr. Abell thanked the Manager and staff for their hard work through the budget process.

Mr. Ellsworth gave an overview of the budget.  Some expenses have been moved to different cost centers and the budget includes a new operating software package.  We are under the LD1 cap of $175,525 by $73,000.  Projected revenues are down by $63,706.  The overall budget is up 2.5% which means the average homeowner with a valuation of $261,000 would see an increase in taxes of about $65 (this does not include any increase from the school district).  Mr. Ellsworth added that this is a “bare bones” budget.

Acct #4110 – Town Council:  Up $400.  Increase in community expenses.  Benefits are $114.

Mr. Ellsworth explained that benefits include certain payroll taxes such as FICA/Worker’s Comp, life & health insurances, and retirement.  There was a significant increase in the cost of Maine PERS for both employees and the Town, the highest being for union employees in police/dispatch.  

Jean Demetracopoulos, Oldfields Rd, asked if the Council is able to do some training regionally (like the FEMA training).  Mr. Ellsworth responded that they do try to when possible.

Acct #4115 – Town Manager:  Increase $1,973.  3% wage increase for Assistant and increased travel expenses.  No increase in Manager’s salary per contract.  Benefits are $57,000.

Acct #4118 – Town Clerk:  Increase $3,862.  Increase in Clerk’s salary, addition of 5 hours of the Deputy Clerk’s time, and increased training.  Benefits are $31,000.

Acct #4120 – Control/Collection: Decrease $12,517.  Two long term employees retired.  Hours have increased for Deputy Town Clerk and the finance assistant, increase in professional services for the audit.  Benefits are $69,088

Acct #4125 – Computer:  Increase $1,300.  Converting business office to laptops.  No benefits.

Acct #4130 – Administration:  Increase $9,205.  Covers many administrative costs for all departments such as legal fees, copier leases, town web page, and office supplies.  The funds for the Eastern Trail were moved to the Recreation account.  No benefits.

Acct #4150 - Tax Assessment:  Increase $13,912.  The cost of the assessing program (Patriot) moved to this cost center from Administration.  The Assessing Agents wages/benefits are shared 40% with North Berwick.  Benefits are $47,000.

Acct #4160 – Code Enforcement:  Increase $841.  The CEO is shared with Berwick.  Berwick pays a portion of the CEO costs.  Part of his salary is included in the Planning Budget.  Benefits are $21,233.

Acct #4170 – Planning:  Decrease $728.  The professional services line has been increased by $20,000 to account for the increased ordinance work that is planned for the year.  Benefits are $6,749.

Acct #4172 – Historic District Commission:  No change.  No benefits.

Acct #4175 – Zoning Board of Appeals:  No change.  No benefits.

PH Budget 04-11-17

Acct #4180 – Town Hall:  Increase $2,017.  This covers the custodian and increased electricity and heating costs.  Benefits are $21,189.

Acct #4185 – Community Center:  Increase $1,075.  Decrease in cost of supplies and an increase in bottled water (moved from the Administrative account) and electricity demand charges.  Benefits are $1,541.

Acct #4190 – Employee Benefits:  Decrease $61,630.  Change in health insurance brokers and plans and employee’s contributions increased from 15% to 17% and will increase to 20% in Sept. 2017.  Worker’s Comp is reduced due to the three large payouts coming of the books.

Acct #4220 – Fire Department:  Increase $10,457.  Increase due to higher call volume and increased (some mandatory) trainings.  Benefits are $24,284.

Acct #4227 – Emergency Management Services:  Decrease $348.  Wage increase.  Benefits are $1,052.

Acct #4228 - Emergency/Rescue Services:  Still in contract negotiations; added $3,000 as a buffer.  No benefits.

Acct #4229 – Water Assessment/Fire Protection:  The Water District is allowed to charge up to 35% of its operating budget.  This budget covers fire hydrants.  No benefits.

Acct #4230 Police Department:  Increase $26,989.  Contractual wage increases of 2% and the need for more part-time help ($10,000).  Vehicle repairs have been increased by $3,500.  Benefits are $346,535.

Acct #4231 – Animal Control:  Decrease $311.  ACO wages.  We now pay the humane society on a per animal basis for unclaimed dogs.  Benefits are $817.

Acct #4240 – Dispatch Center:  Increase $1,762.  Contractual wage increase of 2%.  Increased maintenance costs, dedicated phone lines, and shared cost of internet speed upgrade.  This budget also covers the PSAP fees for us and Berwick.  There is an $11,000 decrease in equipment due to the removal of the purchase of a QA Software package.  Benefits are $96,169.

Acct #4250 – Street Lights:  Decrease $2000.   Decrease due to converting to LED bulbs.  No benefits.

Acct #4310 – Highway Department:  Increase $80,382.  The increase is due primarily to eliminating the solid waste transportation line and adding personnel to this cost center.  The salt budget is also increased due to extended costs for this year.  Benefits are $188,160.

Acct #4315 – Public Facilities:  Increase $1,700.  Increased costs for watering the soccer field.  This account also covers our mowing contract.  No benefits.

Acct #4325 – Town Garage:  Increase $800.  Increase in LP gas and higher electricity demand charges.  No benefits.

Acct #4330 – Transfer Station:  Increase $65,544.  The cost of solid waste transportation moved to this account.  The full-time station operator is reduced to 30 hours.  This upcoming budget will also cover the one-time expense (every so many years) of testing at the covered land fill site.  Benefits are $16,101.

Acct #4335 – Solid Waste Transportation:  This cost center has been moved and split between Highway #4310 and Transfer Station #4330.  

Acct #4410 - Recreation Department:  Increase $7,101.  The assistant’s hours have been increased to 20 per week and this account now includes the Eastern Trail Alliance payment of $3500.  Benefits are $46,510.

Acct #4450 – Conservation Commission:  No change.  This budget covers our share of the Mt. A. Coordinator’s salary.  No benefits.

Acct #4470 – Library:  Increase $12,256.  Hours have been increased for one aide from 8 to 16.  Electricity demand charges have increased in spite of having solar.  Benefits are $33,212.

PH Budget 04-11-17

Acct #4510 – Social Services:  Increase $1,768.  Assistance grants increase by $2,000.  No benefits

Acct #4530 - Social/Civic Contributions:  Decrease $700.  No benefits.

Acct #4733-4737 – Debt:  Decrease $3,974.  The road bond payment is included in the capital improvements account.  No benefits.

Acct #4850 – Contingency Funding:  No change.  This account covers the funding for payroll buyouts when someone leaves the Town.  Current balance is $84,289; current liabilities are $211,630.  No benefits.

Acct #4855 – Capital Improvements:  Increase $26,000.  There are increases in the highway equipment account of $15,000, the software conversion of $30,000, the Town building reserve of $10,000.  Approximately $50,000 will be utilized for repairs on the Community Center roof.  The Police Station reserve account is reduced by $20,000.  This account will cover the $476,000 road bond payment.  No benefits.

The hearing was closed at 7:28pm.


Barbara Bennett, CCM
Town Clerk