LOWELL | Employees would get a 2 percent raise and the Fire Department could get its first, full-time employee if the state approves the town's proposed 2014 budget.
There were no comments from the public during Monday's public hearing on the $4,773,841 budget.
Lowell Clerk/Treasurer Judy Walters said Monday there's little guaranteed in the budget which depends on the decisions of others.
Notably, Walters said she and financial consultant Greg Guerretaz chose to not budget for 2014 the county income tax portion for development.
"We'll wait to know for sure what we're getting," she said.
The budget does, however, include the new public safety fund which is expected to be funded through the portion of the county income tax designated for public safety.
Lowell Volunteer Fire Department leaders and town officials have agreed a paid, full-time person is needed for daytime hours. The police chief's salary also has been moved into that fund.
Guerretaz said the E-911 issue is a major source for concern since there is the possibility of losing $200,000 should leaders not meet the state deadline.
The Lowell budget, he said, is deliberately very tight. "We pound the department heads to keep revenue coming in and spending in check," he said.
Walters said department heads must go before the Town Council to ask for capital funds for large purchases.
That's why the council told Police Chief Erik Matson on Monday the town cannot participate in funding half the cost of a school resource officer with Tri-Creek School Corp. The proposed budget does not include the estimated $35,000 needed.
The 2014 budget would have a $3,183,275 levy. The current levy is $2,973,870.
"Really, the budget is pretty much the same to stay within the levy," Walters said. The salary for a town administrator remains budgeted although Lowell Town Administrator Sue Peterson is retiring at the end of the year and the council has made no decision on the position.
An 11 percent increase in health insurance costs was built in to match the increase last year.
"We are concerned about Obamacare. ... Our part-time employees would have been cut to 24 hours. However, we got a one year's extension," Walters said. Employees with 32 or more hours would cost the town in additional health insurance costs, she said.