Waldoboro officials will revisit the 2020-2021 municipal budget amid anticipation of a drop in revenue due to coronavirus-related economic turmoil.
The Waldoboro Board of Selectmen and Waldoboro Budget Committee will meet to discuss the matter at 4 p.m., Wednesday, May 6. The time may shift to 5 depending on committee members’ availability.
The selectmen and budget committee may meet in an ambulance bay or outside in order to observe physical distancing, according to Town Manager Julie Keizer.
“I’m going to be honest. I think we are going to have to cut a significant amount of revenue,” Keizer said.
Selectman Clinton Collamore asked if Keizer wanted input from the board before the joint meeting.
“Email me if you have ideas about how to save money or on new revenue,” Keizer said.
Keizer said the town needs to consider all options, including a tax anticipation note. A tax anticipation note is a line of credit that municipalities use for cash flow while they await tax payments.
Keizer said many businesses and residents are experiencing the same economic unknowns as the town office.
“People are scared of the future and the economic insecurity doesn’t help. The economy is hurting and our people are hurting,” Keizer said.
Keizer expects a decline in both local revenues and money from the state in the form of state-municipal revenue-sharing.
“There are a lot of moving parts and the economy impacts a lot of those,” she said.
Keizer said the town expects to see less revenue from Waldoboro Emergency Medical Services and from fees and taxes for vehicle registrations.
“The governor talked about financial plans and forecasting yesterday, but we are not sure what that is going to be and need to take another look at the budget. With revenue coming down, we need to make adjustments,” Keizer said.
Keizer said the extension of the deadline to file income taxes will likely further impact state revenue.
In response to a question about federal assistance, Keizer said she does not expect direct federal assistance to towns.
“I don’t anticipate direct federal funding to towns, but for money the state gets, how and in what way they distribute it is something we need to keep an eye on with the help of our representative and senator,” Keizer said.
Keizer said she cut hours for nonessential staff at the town office to reduce the 2020-2021 budget for administration.
“We had across-the-board cuts. I looked at individual positions and made the best decisions I could. Everyone experienced a reduction in hours of some type,” Keizer said.
“Our employees have been incredibly understanding in this difficult time, when we are cutting hours. They weren’t happy about it, but they understand why,” Keizer said.
Keizer said she would forgo a contractual raise for herself, set to take effect in May.
“I don’t feel it is appropriate to take the increase during this time and am absolving you of the contract increase until we can afford it,” she said.
Keizer said she would let the selectmen decide if she should also reduce her hours.
Keizer thanked the heads of the town’s EMS, fire, and police departments, saying they responded promptly to a memo with ideas for how to save money.
In response to a question from the public on whether the due date for property tax payments will change, Keizer said they have not.
“People who are able to pay need to do so. We need money coming in,” said Robert Butler, chair of the board of selectmen.