Baileyville Town Meeting

By Dorothy Johnson

The annual Baileyville Town Meeting was opened at 6:30 pm on Monday evening by Town Manager Rick Bronson. John Alan Churchill, esq. was selected as moderator.
The council members had prepared their 2013-2014 budget and articles a bit differently this  year. For example, although it looks as though $100,000 was taken of from the Employees’ Benefits lines, council chair Tim Calla reported to the residents that some employees’ benefits were moved from this article to the articles for specific departments. Health insurance benefits have been decreased for some employees,” said Call.
Most articles passed without question or comment. The exception to that statement was Article 15, which concerned ambulance coverage. The council recommended $16,500, the amount requested by Calais Ambulance. Ambulance directors from both providers were given permission to speak to the voters. Both ambulance services were given excellent ratings for their service. Dr. Tom McHugh, local doctor, commented that the timing of when an ambulance could respond to a call was of the essence in serious injuries and therefore Down East Ambulance housed in Baileyville could respond faster than the ambulance from Calais. Residents preferred to stay with Down East coverage. They then voted down the article requesting $16,500 and raised the amount requested by Down East $43,000. This motion passed 18 to 14.
The remaining articles were passed with few questions. Residents approved $185,350 for a three-person police department and $244,320 for the Water Pollution Control Plant. Only $84,920 will be raised by taxes and the remaining funds will come from revenues from septage and sewer fees. Because of the liability, if something unplanned happens at the plant, the council is investigating turning the operation of the facility over to a company with a certified engineer on staff.
When asked by former councilor Dorothy Johnson about the 11.9% cut in the library budget, Councilor Call assured the audience that all departments had been cut similarly.
Residents approved an article “to authorize the Baileyville School Committee to borrow an amount not to exceed $450,000 for the purpose of replacing the roof on the Woodland High School gymnasium.”
The council spent time having budget meetings carefully scrutinizing services versus cost. They worked to keep the mil rate at this year’s rate and if the state does not keep too much of annual revenues, (state revenue sharing and excise taxes), the town should be in good financial shape.
The remaining articles were approved. Council’s notes on the $2,970,985. (w/o county tax) 2013 -2014 budget has the following changes in town service and/or operations: Insurance 80/20, police at 40 hours, police chief as employee, contract (out) WWTP, contract (out) transfer station and elimination of one employee at public works.
The town meeting on the school section of the 2013-2014 budget will be held at a later date.