Proposed Wiscasset budget cuts to be shared Nov. 21

Posted:  Thursday, November 9, 2017 - 8:45am

Wiscasset’s Budget Committee is anxious to get to work on the 2018-19 budget; among its goals is helping voters understand how town spending impacts their property taxes. The budget work will likely begin in early December.

Town Manager Marian Anderson met briefly with the committee Wednesday evening, Nov. 8. Anderson told Chairman William Laliberte, she’d have a list of $500,000 in cuts proposed for next year’s budget to share with the select board on Tuesday, Nov. 21 and suggested the budget committee might wish to attend.

“After that you’ll need to begin having serious discussions as far as where you want to go from there,” she said. “It promises to be an interesting budget year.”

Committee members Fred Quivey and Kim Andersson both said they planned to attend the meeting.

Anderson had a prior commitment and couldn’t stay for the entire meeting. Before she left, she mentioned the possible “elimination of departments” as part of those cuts but didn’t elaborate.

“She kind of left us hanging in the air,” committee member Ervin Deck commented after the town manager left.

After the list of proposed cuts is revealed, the committee will meet to discuss them, at 6 p.m. Monday, Nov. 27. A joint meeting of the budget committee, select board and town manager is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov 30. To reach as many residents as possible, Deck suggested the Nov. 30 meeting be recorded and posted on YouTube. Deck noted he’d be out-of-state on that date and unable to attend.

During the 90-minute meeting, Quivey shared documentation to help the committee better understand how revenues offset expenses of certain departments. He offered the ambulance service and community center as examples.

The committee discussed exploring how other communities similar to Wiscasset are coping with increasing costs and whether or not compiling this information might be beneficial to the select board. A good deal of the discussion dealt with how best to share information with taxpayers including using the town’s website and Facebook page along with articles in the newspapers.

Six of the committee’s eight members were present, including Shaye Paradis and Zack Gray. Preston Dunning and newly appointed member Steve Wallace were not there.