Boothbay Harbor selectmen accepted the town’s audit report Dec. 14 from accountant Fred Brewer, and Selectman Wendy Wolf told the board she will not seek another term.
Said Wolf, “I'm going to take a break from serving on the select board after my term ends (in 2021). So, there will be two slots to run for select board and I wanted to let people know so they can start thinking about stepping up to run for election … and make sure we have good representatives for our town government … It's good to mix up and have new leadership now and then.”
Brewer said, with people’s attention divided in the extremely weird year due to COVID-19, preparing the audit has been hard. The town’s budget has trended upward the past few years, due to items like ambulance services, trash disposal and county taxes, said Brewer. Overall, cash is nearly identical to the past few years, so the town is collecting what it needs, he said.
“People couldn't really come in and register their vehicles from March on, so you've really got some pent up demand to register vehicles that come into play … Next year I expect that to be fairly strong. Same thing with your parking revenue …”
Brewer said contracted services, particularly legal services, are among the only budget items he has seen consistently underbudgeted year after year; however, that was to be expected from this year with the hiring of a new town manager and paying for unused sick and vacation time. Town Manager Julia Latter said the next budget will see an increase to the legal services budget.
New protocols, attention to the extra spending, and securing of funds to deal with COVID-19 are also big factors with revenue; the $8.2 million in revenue the town planned for this past year came back in virtually the same, said Brewer. “It was down a little bit, but a lot of that was your excise taxes and your parking. Your expenditures, you budgeted $8.5 million and you spent $8.1 million, you moved money to the reserves, so at the end of the day you've got that $1.9 million that's left down at the bottom.”
Vice chair Tricia Warren announced the eight-question broadband survey is now available on the town website and Facebook page and soon also through Boothbay Region Elementary and High schools’ portals. Over 100 people have already taken the survey, which runs through Jan. 10. Warren urged the public to take it. Find it at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/LRFTLDL