While some Scarborough Town Councilors still have reservations about the 2007 budget, little public comment or controversy has arisen during the budget deliberations as of yet.

As it now stands the town’s net budget is proposed at about $38.3 million, an increase of about $1.5 million, which is expected to increase the tax rate to $11.60 per $1,000 of assessed value.

The council is scheduled to vote on the budget Wednesday night after The Current’s deadline. But some councilors feel there could be some adjustments to the budget before it is accepted.

Chairman Steve Ross said some councilors are talking about reducing the school budget by $200,000, bringing the total school request to $27.2 million.

The $200,000 reduction being discussed equals the amount of money the school board agreed to add to the budget earlier this year. The school board agreed to use the money to hire additional staff after it learned Superintendent Bill Michaud had overestimated the district’s health insurance costs by $200,000 in the initial budget.

Ross said the superintendent did not recommend the additional positions when making his initial budget presentation and he is confident of Michaud’s ability to determine the school district’s need in terms of budgeting.

Councilor Shawn Babine questions the validity of the proposed automated waste and recycling program. He said he is concerned that the program is supposed to be funded through an increase in recycling rates that may not occur, leaving the town with a higher expense than it now has.

However, Councilors Patrick O’Reilly and Sylvia Most both feel the budget is adequate and, given the lack of interest in the budget, feel that changes are unnecessary.

“It seems from all appearances we’re headed for a quiet budget cycle,” Most said. “There’s a little something for everyone in this budget without a high tax increase.”

Most said she is hesitant to take money away from the school district the night of the final vote, but said she would wait to hear the arguments before making a decision.

Most also said she supports the automated trash proposal noting that there have been several discussions about what to do about waste disposal over the years.

“I think it will save our community money in the long run,” she said.

In addition, there is a request of $400,000 for a turf field at the high school which will allow the field to be used more often and eventually could pay for itself through rental fees from outside organizations. The proposal seems to have the support from many councilors.

“I think it really makes sense to do the turf if the price is right,” Ross said.

Some other additional items included in the budget include new staffing for the police department, rescue department, and the code enforcement department. In addition, Town Manager Ron Owens created a cost center within the Community Services for senior programming and transportation.

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