Livermore Falls sets special town meeting on budget articles for Aug. 30

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LIVERMORE FALLS — Selectmen agreed Tuesday to hold a special town meeting Thursday, Aug. 30, at the Town Office to vote on two budget articles that residents rejected in June.

The traditional town meeting, scheduled to begin at 6 p.m., will include a vote by a show of hands, not a referendum.

The board voted in a split vote to set the administration budget at $280,891, which is $2,400 less than the proposed budget that failed at the polls June 12.

It is an increase of $1,883 from last year.

After going back and forth on possible budget reductions, most members of the board decided to cut:

• $1,000 from legal fees, bringing it to $6,000.

• $1,000 from postage, bringing it to $6,000.

• $400 from supplies.

Town Manager Stephen Gould, who was out on medical leave when the budget was developed, said he could find no fat or frivolous spending in the proposed budget.

Voters rejected the initial article, proposed at $283,291, by a vote of 262-248.

After reviewing the budget proposed for elected officials, selectmen voted 4-1, with Selectman George Cummings opposed, to send it back at the same amount of $39,153 that voters rejected 267-243.

The $10,000 increase from last year is to cover a $2,100 stipend for each of the five selectmen. The stipend was significantly reduced last year, and only $500 was put in the budget.

“I think it is a public service to the town,” Cummings said.

Board Chairwoman Heather Bronish said she received many phone calls when the board lowered the stipend. She gave last year’s $100 stipend back to the town, but it was given back to her because it was not needed. She will find another place to donate the money, she said.

The two articles that failed were part of a $2.5 million budget. The spending plan represented an increase of more than $130,000.

Until the articles are approved by voters, setting the tax rate is on hold.

dperry@sunmediagroup.net