Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, February 27, 2014
Deer Isle proposes hiring assessing agent, administrative assistant
by Faith DeAmbrose
Deer Isle’s proposed town budget is expected to come in at about $6,000 more than last year’s total of $1,151,740, Third Selectman Lewis Ellis said in a recent telephone call.
The selectmen signed the town meeting warrant at their Thursday, February 20, meeting, barely making the cutoff for having the warrant legally posted 10 days prior to the meeting. Town meeting will take place on Monday, March 3.
Last year, voters increased the budget from the floor by approving an additional $40,000 for the disposal of materials at the town’s transfer station.
This year there will be no additional needs at the transfer station, said Ellis, but additional monies of nearly that amount have been added to the budget—primarily to cover the costs of two new proposed expenses to run the municipal government.
There are two proposed changes that, if passed by voters, would affect the way the town operates. The first asks voters to spend $26,750 to outsource the town’s property assessment management to Pittsfield-based RJD Appraisal. The job of property assessment for the purposes of tax collection has been a responsibility of the board of selectmen. Deer Isle is the last of the area towns to solely do its own assessing; most every other town in the area contracts with RJD Appraisal.
The town will also be asked to hire an administrative assistant at a cost of $20 per hour. An additional $10,000 has been added to the “Administration” line of the municipal budget to cover the expense.
The cost of the assistant will be covered by an $11,000 reduction in the first selectman’s salary. Currently First Selectman Neville Hardy is paid $26,000, but for the 2014 budget, only $15,000 has been requested.
An increase of $2,000 for health insurance and $7,500 for repairs at the former elementary school round out the major increases.
Although much of the budget, with the exceptions listed above, will remain nearly identical to those in previous years, voters will decide on approximately $55,000 of requests from third-party sources including $13,500 from the Deer Isle-Stonington Shellfish Committee, $10,800 from Island Community Center and $7,900 from Hancock County Homecare.
Town meeting will begin with the election of municipal and CSD #13 school board officials between 7:20 and 11:30 a.m. on Monday, March 3, at the town hall.
The meeting will reconvene at 2 p.m. to act on the remaining warrant articles.