MOUNT DESERT — With the continuing decline in the number of volunteer firefighters, Fire Chief Mike Bender proposes hiring a fifth full-time member of the fire department next fiscal year.
The starting salary of $47,736, along with an accompanying increase in health insurance costs, would account for more than the $55,256 by which Bender is asking to increase his department’s budget.
“I tried to cut other areas where I could, just to minimize the increase in the budget,” he told the Board of Selectmen last week.
With the addition of the new firefighter position, the budget would total $711,083, an increase of 8.43 percent.
The budget for the police department proposed by Chief Jim Willis would go up $32,932 to $903,188, an increase of 3.78 percent.
He told the selectmen he intends to replace a police cruiser with a hybrid model.
“The standard build now for a Ford Police Interceptor is actually a hybrid,” he said. “You have to select a gas-only if you want something other than the standard.”
Willis said some other police departments now have hybrid vehicles.
“I’m hearing good reports on them, so I think we’re good to go,” he said.
Town Manager Durlin Lunt’s draft budget for municipal management and other “general government” functions, such as assessing, code enforcement and debt service, totals $3.56 million. That represents a decrease of 1.12 percent from the current year’s budget. The savings are to come primarily from debt service (down $39,927) and software license fees (down $21,721).
Public Works Director Tony Smith has not yet presented his proposed budget for the coming fiscal year, which starts July 1.
Mount Desert Elementary School Principal Gloria Delsandro is to present her proposed budget to the school committee Jan. 20.