FAIRFIELD — Voters approved a $5.4 million municipal budget Monday evening during the annual Town Meeting.
The amount, $5,441,613, is slightly less than last year’s budget of $5,449,441.
About 60 voters in attendance voted overwhelmingly to support social service and community organizations, such as the Family Violence Project, the Fairfield Historical Society, the Kennebec Valley Community Action Program Child and Family Services, and the Police Athletic League, despite attempts to remove those expenses from the budget.
One to six people voted against each such expenditure, and all passed by a large majority.
Voters approved $12,654 in spending on the Central Maine Growth Council. The vote was in line with the Budget Committee’s recommendation that the growth council funding be approved, while the Town Council recommended that no money be spent on the budget item.
By a large margin, with about 10 people opposed, voters approved the expenditure for the growth council, an economic development organization that provides business development services and seeks to promote regional prosperity.
Voters also supported Kennebec Behavioral Health with a funding level of $2,000. The amount was recommended by the Town Council, while the Budget Committee had recommended reducing the amount to $600.
Last year, the organization, which provides community-based services to prevention, education and treatment services to more than 13,500 people in the region each year, received $3,000 from the town.
The Town Council and the Budget Committee were in agreement on all other recommendations.
Early in the meeting, Town Manager Josh Reny spoke about the challenges and opportunities facing the town. He said the town’s comprehensive plan is being revised, something that is done about every 10 years.
He said a plan to bring a natural gas pipeline into town is moving forward, and information is now available that shows where the project will build to during its first year.
The property tax rate, currently $19.70 per $1,000 of assessed property value, won’t change significantly because of the town budget; but it is still subject to changes from the budget processes of School Administrative District 49, Somerset County and the state.
The meeting lasted about 90 minutes, during which voters approved 36 warrant items.
Matt Hongoltz-Hetling — 861-9287