Budget: Rate up by 60 cents

By Dawn De Busk
Staff Writer

NAPLES — During the quickest budget presentation in the Lake Region, Naples Town Manager Derik Goodine went over department expenses at a rapid-fire pace.

Faster than the hands on the clock, he clicked off dollar differences between the current budget and the proposed one.

Twenty minutes later, during its Monday meeting, the Naples Board of Selectmen approved the $10,345,900 budget for the 2011-12 fiscal year, which begins July 1.

Residents will have an opportunity to vote on the proposed budget at town meeting in June.  The date for town meeting has not been scheduled yet, according to the staff at the Naples Town Offices.

If the budget is passed, the adjusted mil rate will be $12.20, which would be an increase of 60 cents over the current mill rate.

“County taxes are down. The school (tax) unfortunately is up. The mill rate is $12.20,” Goodine said.

The Town Budget Committee’s recommendations differed only slightly from Goodine’s proposed budget, and both proposals landed at the same mill rate.

Both Goodine and Selectman Christine Powers publicly thanked the Budget Committee for the work it has done since it began meeting in late February.

At Monday’s meeting, Budget Committee Chairman Richard Cross handed out copies of the budget proposal to audience members.

Goodine commented on the process everyone goes through to get to a reasonable end result.

“They (members of the budget committee) produce the budget the same time I do. When we review these budgets, we do this together,” Goodine said.

“They get a little scared that we are heading to doomsday. I am not as scared because I do this every year,” he said.

Goodine highlighted some of the shifts in expenses.

“General Assistance, with the way the economy is, is going to get hit harder.  I proposed $3,000 more than the budget committee did,” he said.

Increased gas pump prices bumped up the cost of Animal Control for the town. Goodine added $675 to that line item. He said that would cover the additional gas expenses for Animal Control Officer Bobby Silcott, who serves Naples and communities in the region.

Fuel prices also played a part in Goodine’s decision to increase the Unanticipated Expenses account by $5,000.

“We don’t always use all of unanticipated expenses,” he said, adding it’s nice to have a monetary cushion.

One likely unknown — the cost for annual wintertime road maintenance — will be added to the Article during Town Meeting, Goodine said.

The majority of the recent budget increases come from road maintenance and building maintenance, he said.

In the future, the town plans to create its own maintenance department. The move toward creating a maintenance department seems like a natural evolution — with the revamped Causeway, docks, and other public properties like the town beach and adjacent Kent’s Landing parcel.

The proposed budget moves $3,000 into Community Groups by allocating that money to Naples Main Street, a non-profit with a mission to help with town beautification and Causeway development. The local non-profit plans to use the money to hire a professional grant writer to assist in accomplishing its goals, Goodine said.

The Naples Public Library struck a balance to the budget – by requesting $3,000 less than the 2010-11 budget, he said.

Another piece of good news: The fees brought in from building permits has nailed a 14 percent increase, which brought an additional $3,000 more than last year to the municipality.

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