Milford bringing in more revenue

MILFORD – Signs of an improving economy are showing up in increased revenue for Milford.

Town Administrator Guy Scaife gave the Advisory Budget Committee its first look at a preliminary budget for 2014 last week and said the revenue side of the town ledger shows that more money is coming in from the Community Development office,

According to Community Development Director Bill Parker, there were several large building permits, including the ones for the Pine Valley apartments and the new Airmar Building, as well as a slight increase in subdivision and site plan applications. There’s also a slight increase in single-family building permits after “several years of very bad numbers.”

Scaife said there is also a big increase in timber tax revenue and vehicle registrations are up.

These are “nice signs of an economic recovery,” he told the budget committee. The welfare budget is also down.

And the unanticipated revenue might allow the town to move some spending planned for 2014 to 2013, taking pressure off next year’s spending plan, Scaife said.

The expense side of the budget shows most departments with modest increases, he said, with the Department of Pubic Works taking “the lion’s share” of the increase, which now stands at 7.9 percent.

One of the large DPW items is $40,000 for an exhaust removal system for the South Street building.

Scaife also told the committee that Nicole Banks, the town recreation director for nine years, is leaving to take a position in Westford, Mass.

“She has done an outstanding job, and we have begun to recruit” a replacement, he said.

Other highlights of proposed spending for 2014:

? The retirement of Ruth Bolduc, longtime Human Resources director, at the end of 2014. The town will require an extra $15,000 to bring someone in before she leaves to learn everything that they need to know of this “critical position,” Scaife said, saying Bolduc “knows this stuff like the back of her hand.”

? Funds to repair the historic Civil War fountain on the lawn of the Wadleigh Memorial Library.

? A 3 percent increase for employee merit raises.

? A new ladder truck for the fire department.

Kathy Cleveland can be reached at 673-3100 or at kcleveland@cabinet.com.