Our budget meeting workshop was held tonight at the Town hall with members of the Council and Town Staff. Many ideas were discussed. Chairperson Thomson discussed keeping the budget goals at a 1.5 percent increase and asked department heads to work on ideas. Only three members of the public attended this open meeting.
Town Clerk Maryann Place suggested Kittery could review Kittery’s licensing fees, which when compared to bordering communities, appear to be less expensive.
I (Councilor Denault) was concerned with disappearing revenues and brought up Registration Violations (people who live here and register their cars in other States) and that would be a way to bring in revenues and establishing a list of revenue generating ideas.
I asked about parking kiosks as opposed to marking meters so not as to distract from the area. In many communities kiosks help raise money and help keep parking areas open. It was just a only a suggestion since there has been a lot of talk regarding parking violators and the low-cost of parking tickets as well as previous talks about the lack of short-term parking. There are still many issues of people parking all day and doing it for an occasional $10 or $20 dollar parking ticket.
Chairperson Thomson thought free parking in the Foreside could be an idea down the road but thought the maybe one of the Foresides attraction is that brings in people who might otherwise visit downtown Portsmouth, N.H.
Chairperson Thomson mentioned a suggested goal this year to have the town and school budgets try to stay less than a 1.5 percent increase, which is close to a cost-of-living adjustments next year for Social Security and federal retirement benefits based on the consumer price index.
Town Manager Nancy Colbert Puff suggested if all else is equal, and all other factors such as revenues stay the same, a 1.5 percent budget increase would be in line with the average single-family tax bill increases over the past four years.
It seemed like a good place to start as the FY14 budget talks begin.