Naples budget ready for voters

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

NAPLES — On Wednesday, June 6, Naples’ 2012–13 budget will come before the residents at the annual town meeting. The assembly starts at 7 p.m. in the large meeting room in the Naples Town Office.

The proposed municipal budget totals $2,836,985.

Additionally, in warrant Article 41, community members will consider a bond to complete planned road reconstruction.

According to Town Manager Derik Goodine, it is strategic planning for the town to take out a bond (capped at $750,000) for those infrastructure improvements.

“I am looking at it from a mil rate perspective. That is why we had the discussion to push it off until next year. The bond won’t be due until next year’s budget,” Goodine said.

The road bond would be scheduled for a five-year payment plan with 2% interest, which would tack on an additional $45,600 cost during that time period, according to Goodine.

Good news for tax-paying property owners: Tax-increment Finance (TIF) funding is permitted to be applied to a number of capital improvements including the fire suppression pipes installation; the construction of the building that now houses the Naples Museum, Naples Historical Society and tourist information center; matching funds for a grant to extend underground water pipes; and to make payments on a Causeway renovations bond. TIF funding will also cover community events like the grand opening for the Bay of Naples Bridge that occurred in mid-May as well as $8,000 for the fireworks display on Independence Day.

During the upcoming town meeting, as articles are opened for discussion, residents may increase or decrease the proposed budget amount.

At a recent meeting of the Naples Board of Selectmen, the town manager and budget committee disagreed on the amount to allocate for the Naples Public Library.

Selectman Rick Paraschak noted the library had asked for $74,000 in town funding for the upcoming fiscal year.

Selectman Bob Caron, Sr. queried about the amount of money in the library trust fund, which he said was probably more than $1,000,000 at this point in time.

According to Diane Monaco, NPL Board of Trustees Treasurer, that was true and the library used $30,000 from the interest on its endowment fund to cover 2011-12 expenses. Another $35,000 was derived from fundraising, she said.

“We want to jump our fundraising goal to $42,000. We don’t want to go any further with the endowment, or with the town,” Monaco said.

Goodine said he advocated for a higher library budget amount than the budget committee because, “I thought they made a compelling argument for more hours of operation.”

Budget Committee Chairman Marie Caron explained the group’s vote, “I cannot speak for myself, because I am not the majority. (People thought that) the hours of operation, and the number of staff wasn’t going in the right direction.”

“We thought providing more time on the computer was more important,” Marie Caron said.

Monaco said human beings were necessary to provide technical support to the people using the computers.

“Technology is changing all the time. And, we are trying to offer that to the community — with computer classes. Also we moved a person who was part time to ‘there all the time’ when the library is open,” she said.

“We need more people there to support the people walking through the door with computer questions,” Monaco said.

Chairman Christine Powers said although she was “originally recused” as a library employee, she could vouch for how technology questions have been keeping the staff busy.

“A person was applying for a job, and didn’t have an e-mail. A librarian had to help him set up an e-mail account,” she said, adding the person later landed the job and thanked the librarian for the assistance.

“It is consistently technology that takes up most of the time,” Powers said.

For the proposed library budget, Goodine has recommended $74,000 while the budget committee favors $72,750.

Residents who are interested may view the warrant articles on the town’s website, townofnaples.org. To view the budget and warrant information in person, copies are posted at the Naples Town Office, the Naples Post Office, the Naples Public Library, A2M, and at Tony’s Foodland.

Please follow and like us: