Media Archive

Milo passes $1.3 million budget, elects town officials

Article from The Piscataquis Observer, Vol. 165, No. 11, March 12, 2003

By Jessica Lee
Staff Writer

Townspeople defeat proposal to change Milo's fiscal year

MILO Tradition was challenged, but not defeated, at the annual town meeting Monday.

Townspeople will not change the fiscal year from a calender year to July 1 to June 30, same as the state and schools.

Roy Bither, chairman of the board of selectmen, proposed Article 27 on the warrant, which would have authorized the selectmen "to take all necessary action to change the town's fiscal year" to coincide with the school department and the state. Currently, the town operates under a fiscal year that is the same as the calender year. Bither proposed a July 1 to June 30 schedule.

The proposal was challenged by the majority of the approximately 50 in attendance at the auditorium in town hall.

Residents, however, made little comment on the 2003 budget proposal, passing the $1.29 million in expenditures as recommended by the budget committee and selectmen. The budget includes a 2 percent
decline, due to cuts in spending to offset an anticipated $15,000 (or 2 percent) decline in revenues, due to primarily state revenue sharing.

Revenues in 2003 are budgeted at $675,572.

Town Manager Jane Jones explained that the budget proposal features flat-funding of most line items, in order to maintain the municipal tax rate of $8.22 per $1,000 valuation. However, that tax estimate does not include the SAD 41 or county taxes.

She said that a second town meeting will need to be called this year if Milo prevails in its pursuit of approximately $300,000 back taxes owed by the Bangor & Aroostook Railroad System. She said that the town should then revisit those items that were cut.

"If we get that extra money, I'd like to see additional money authorized for wages," said Bither.

Residents also approved overdrafts in the town's budget of $20,836 for general government, which Jones explained were due to legal costs in the struggle with the B&A bankruptcy, and $8,852 for employee insurance due to rising premiums.

Regarding Bither's proposal, Jones warned against the change to the fiscal year, saying it would put additional pressure on staff at an already busy time during May through July. She also said that the change would leave taxpayers in the dark about actual financial figures when voting in a new budget.

"We close the books Dec. 31 and we have the actual audit figures by January-February," Jones said. "We are providing the most up-to-date information as possible. The audit is not stale."

She also said the change would alter tradition.

"Historically, most towns have town meeting in March," she said.

Residents also re-elected two incumbent selectmen to fill 3-year terms: Jerry Cole won with 54 votes, while Roy Bither received 46. Brian Trask came in third, with 30 votes, Donald Crossman had 17 and Deanna McKenna received 12 votes.

Selectmen also serve as assessors and overseers of the poor.

At a selectmen's meeting following the town meeting, the board re-elected Bither to serve as chairman, and named Rick Gallagher secretary.

For the town's SAD 41 representative, Ralph Jones III received 59 votes. He was the only candidate for that 3-year term, formerly held by Scott Coffin.

NOTE - This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of the TRC Alliance Team.