Despite a significant jump in the cost of emergency ambulance services in the next year, Lincolnville town officials expect the municipal budget to decrease thanks to use of excess surplus funds.

The proposed $2.03 million municipal budget will maintain existing services, convert street lights at Lincolnville Beach to energy-saving LED lamps, continue improvements to the town pier in Lincolnville Harbor and pay for increased ambulance costs, according to Town Administrator David Kinney.

While proposed town spending is up 5 percent in the draft budget, Kinney said March 1 that the town has more money in its surplus account than it needs to cover three months of town bills. He said the finance committee recommended using the excess surplus to pay some town expenses in the coming year.

Ambulance services could spike as high as $57,000 per year based on a request by North East Mobile Health Services. Currently, Lincolnville pays just over $14,000 each year to the ambulance service based in Rockport. Kinney said $57,000 is a worst-case scenario and said he hopes that cost will decrease when the new three-year contract with North East is finalized for Lincolnville, Camden, Hope and Rockport.

The draft budget is at an early stage, Kinney said, and is based on the requests of department heads, town staff, committee chairmen and outside agencies.

"There is still quite a process to go," he said.

Selectmen are expected to finalize their recommendations this month. The budget committee begins its review March 27, Kinney said. He said he thinks the overall budget will decrease as it goes through the review process. Voters have the final say on the municipal budget during the June town meeting.

In addition to increased ambulance costs, fire department costs are up $14,000, or 18 percent. Fire Chief Steve Gibbons proposed adding $6,000 to the budget for firefighter stipends, up from $1,656. He also proposed raising the deputy chief's stipend to $2,000, and the assistant chief's stipend to $1,000; current stipends are $552 for each position.

Lincolnville Community Library is asking for town funding for the first time. The request is $3,000.

A proposal to stream Board of Selectmen meetings on the internet could cost $2,750. However, Selectman Josh Gerritsen suggested using YouTube, at an estimated cost of $1,600. Kinney said selectmen are leaning toward the less-costly option.

New siding planned on the Lincolnville Improvement Association building boosted that group's request to $8,650, from $3,650.

Capital improvement projects include $24,000 to replace 15 street lights at Lincolnville Beach with new LED lamps on the recommendation of the energy committee. Because the lamps use less electricity, the initial costs are recouped over time. The lamps are designed to focus light downward, reducing light pollution of the night sky as well as glare for drivers.

Capital improvements also include $15,000 toward the cost of connecting the Lincolnville Beach fire station and LIA building to the new waste water system when it is completed, and $5,000 toward the cost of a new roof for the fire station and LIA building repairs.

There is no funding requested for Lincolnville Sewer District in the proposed 2018-19 budget because $25,000 approved by voters in 2017 will be carried forward. The first installment payment of $19,000 toward extension of the beach waste water treatment area will come from the carryover, according to Kinney.

Kinney characterizes the remainder of the budget as status quo. For housekeeping purposes, snow-removal costs have been reallocated proportionately to the Town Office building, fire stations and LIA building.

The proposed harbor budget is down 8 percent, to $26,600 from $29,000. About $4,500 was added to the harbor budget for a camera system; a one-time expense. In the draft budget, pier repair is up by $1,950 and stipends increased 2 percent in as follows: harbor master, $2,710; assistant harbor master, $678; and inland harbor master, $1,355.

Kinney said the town is seeking grants for work such as replacing pier planking and adding a gantry system to aid in moving a new incline so it will not be damaged in storms. He said grants often require a local funding match be available in an existing budget.

Provider-agency requests are up approximately $6,000. The Red Cross, which the town has not funded since 2017, is requesting $1,500. Five agencies not previously funded by the town have submitted requests: Belfast Area Child Care Services, $500; Broadreach Family & Community Services, $750; Mid-Coast Maine Community Action, $1,000; Waldo County YMCA, $250; and Aliza Jean Family Cancer Foundation, $1,000. Waldo Community Action Partners is requesting $2,774, an increase of 79 percent.

The budget committee meets, starting at the end of March, through early May. Meetings take place at the Town Office Tuesday evenings at 6 p.m. and are posted online in the town calendar.