OLD ORCHARD BEACH — In an effort to limit spending for the fiscal year that starts July 1, the town manager has proposed eliminating about a half-dozen municipal positions.

In presenting his 2011-12 budget to the Town Council on Tuesday night, Town Manager Jack Turcotte proposed cutting the assistant town manager position, reducing the planning and finance departments by one position each, cutting two half-time positions in code enforcement and assessing, and eliminating the assistant in the public works department and the receptionist in the recreation department.

“We’ll have fewer employees, with more employees doing multitasking,” Turcotte said.

With the staffing cuts, Turcotte said, the $25 million budget would be $467,323 higher than the current year’s budget, including an estimated $400,000 increase in the town’s contribution to the Regional School Unit 23 budget.

This year, Old Orchard Beach will contribute $9.3 million to the budget for RSU 23, which serves Old Orchard Beach, Saco and Dayton.

Exact figures for the town’s contribution in the next fiscal year have not been determined, Turcotte said.

Because of a $1.1 million decrease in revenue, Turcotte said, the budget would increase the town’s property tax rate by 7.51 percent.

“We have yet to see relief,” with the recession still affecting the town, Turcotte said. “The town’s municipal operations cost is consistently increasing and the revenue is consistently decreasing.”

The council could use some of the $4.6 million in the town’s fund balance to offset the impact on taxpayers.

Turcotte said councilors could use as much as $618,000 from that reserve account and still maintain 12 percent of the operating budget — which is required in the town charter.

The current budget includes $500,000 from that fund.

“We have borrowed out of our own savings for the past four or five years,” said Councilor Michael Tousignant. “We’re coming dangerously close to not being able to do that anymore.”

Councilor Robin Dayton said that a tax increase was approved for this fiscal year in part to replenish the fund balance, and that the $500,000 in the current budget has not been fully spent.

The council will continue discussing the proposed budget during a series of workshops scheduled through the end of April. The first will be a workshop at 7 p.m. Thursday with the assessing and police departments.

 

Staff Writer Emma Bouthillette can be contacted at 791-6325 or at: [email protected]