Naples grapples with state cuts

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

NAPLES — It seems like it has happened before in the past half-decade: Fewer and fewer federal and state dollars are trickling down to Maine towns.

Ever fiscally conservative, the Mainers who are responsible for planning town budgets have perhaps learned to rely less on state government funding.

As the Naples Budget Committee begins its weekly meetings to create a sound budget for the 2013–14 fiscal year, Town Manager Derik Goodine is warily anticipating a shortfall in state revenue sharing.

During Monday’s Board of Selectmen meeting, Goodine shared his concerns with the board and asked for direction regarding “building a budget.”

“I am really worried. Trying to find $20,000 in the budget is hard. Finding $200,000 will be next to impossible,” he said.

Goodine said that the potential of losing state revenue sharing amounts to approximately $200,000 that could have been applied as income for the town’s upcoming budget. That money would make the town less reliant on property owners’ tax bills.

“The governor (Gov. Paul LePage) has said he won’t have taxes. But his cuts equal taxes,” Goodine said.

“Our property taxes will probably go up. I don’t know what else to do because the money from the state has just evaporated,” he said.

“It’s really a cut in services. A lot of us town managers view it as a slap in the face,” Goodine said. He talked about some money-saving solutions he was considering: Furlough works days — which wouldn’t save much money in an office with a small staff, or foregoing planned road repair.

Ways to bring in more revenue include proposing a town-wide sales tax, or using the Chaplin Trust Fund. That fund was set up to be used to keep the mil rate lower, he said.

He has also considered writing a resolution to send to Augusta – if so instructed by the board.

The Naples Budget Committee meets at the Grange Hall in the Village Green every Wednesday, beginning at 7 p.m. Those meetings are open to the public. Also, there is a seat available on the seven-person budget committee. Any Naples resident interested in volunteering, can call the Town Office, 693-6364. 

 

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