WESTBROOK – A budget for 2011-12 that would combine the police and fire chief positions and consolidate the offices of finance, city clerk and school business would total $24.3 million — the same as this year.

Revenue, however, is expected to drop by about $460,000, so the budget would raise property taxes by about 1.5 percent. That would add $47 to the property tax bill for a $190,000 home.

Mayor Colleen Hilton will propose that municipal budget to the City Council on Monday.

Combining the police and fire chief positions — director of public safety — would reduce spending by about $125,000 in the fiscal year that starts July 1, said City Administrator Jerre Bryant.

That consolidation has already been made, with the resignation in February of Police Chief Bill Baker, who took a position with the FBI. Michael Pardue, who was the fire chief, is serving as interim public safety director until the position is filled permanently.

In March, the city’s finance office combined with the school department’s business office. The change had been anticipated since the city and the school department hired a joint chief financial officer a year ago to replace the city finance director and the school business manager.

The city clerk’s staff would join that department in the next fiscal year, which Bryant said would improve customer service for residents who come to City Hall.

“If you want to pay your excise tax or get a hunting license, you go to one place,” he said. Previously, those services were handled by two departments.

Two and a half positions would be eliminated in the consolidation, Bryant said.

The continued decline of excise taxes and building permit fees accounts for nearly half of the projected decrease in revenue. The city expects $122,000 less than this year in tax-exempt reimbursements and will lose another $125,000 in interest payments.

One “bright spot” among the city’s revenue sources, Bryant said, is a $77,000 increase in its revenue sharing from the state.

Staff Writer Leslie Bridgers can be contacted at 791-6364 or at:

[email protected]

 


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