NORRIDGEWOCK — Town Meeting voters approved a nine percent increase in the town budget Monday night, which includes everything from property for a new fire station to sand for residents to use in the winter.
The $1.95 million budget includes increases in a number of line items ranging from fire hydrants to workers’ compensation.
While the budget is up, Town Manager Michelle Flewelling said the tax rate will stay about the same, because increases will be offset by state revenues. The town’s tax rate is 20.5 percent per thousand.
About 90 people attended the meeting, which was held at Mill Stream Elementary School.
Selectmen were authorized by voters to buy property that would eventually be the site of a new fire station. There was no money line item Monday night, but town officials said the land should cost around $36,000. A motion to cap the purchase at $75,000 failed.
The old fire station, on Main Street, would not be sold without approval of residents, if it is sold, said Flewelling. She said there is no timeline yet for when a new fire station would be built.
Among the 44 items that passed at the meeting was a motion to establish a town sand supply that residents can use on their property in the winter. In January, the town temporarily cut off residents’ access to town sand because the supply for roads was running out.
On Monday residents voted to appropriate $2,000 to establish a sand supply for residents next year.
“It’s basically an estimate of its startup cost and isn’t necessarily what it would cost next year,” said Town Manager Michelle Flewelling.
The sand supply will most likely be located outside the town office to keep it separate from the sand used by the public works department for roads, she said. The start-up cost includes the estimated cost of a sand shed and fencing that would prevent people from taking truckloads of sand.
Town Meeting voters also unanimously approved an ordinance that would allow qualifying residents to apply for loans financing energy improvements on their homes.
“It’s really a wonderful program that would help people in the community. I would really encourage people to do it,” said State Rep. Ann Dorney, a resident.
The ordinance qualifies residents to apply for loans through Efficiency Maine, an independent trust that promotes the use of low-cost efficient energy.
Residents authorized selectmen to buy property at 3 Awema Way where a new fire station can be built.
The total municipal budget is $1,955,759, which is a 9.5 percent increase from the current budget of $1,769,304. The amount to be raised from taxes is up 15 percent, from $950,954 to $1,093,959, but would be offset by state revenues, officials said.
The meeting lasted about an hour and a half and there was little discussion on most items.
The following line items were also approved: $257,016 for the administration department; $22,515 for elected officials; $119,820 for public safety; $83,170 for the fire department; $525,268 for public works; $28,492 for the library and $26,350 for the codes enforcement department.
Election results were not available Monday night.
Rachel Ohm — 612-2368 firstname.lastname@example.org