RICHMOND — Residents voted against hiring a part-time administrative assistant for the Police Department after extensive debate Tuesday at Town Meeting.

Town Manager Janet Smith and the Budget Committee had recommended a $250,325 police budget, $15,600 more than the amount recommended by selectmen, with the difference between those amounts representing the cost of adding a secretary’s position.

Police Chief Scott MacMaster said the idea was to use some of the savings generated by the elimination of a partially grant-funded officer’s position to pay for someone to work part time at the department to handle paperwork and administrative tasks. He said having that would allow the department’s remaining four officers to spend more time on the road patrolling, because they’d have to spend less time at the department doing administrative work.

“If we have somebody in that role, I’m not taking officers off the road when they’re doing paperwork, doing administrative duties,” he said. “In lieu of having the fifth officer’s position, we’d have an administrative position to get officers out on the road, not doing paperwork.”

O’Neil LaPlante, chairman of the selectmen, said selectmen recommended the lower amount because they didn’t see the administrative position as affecting policing.

Selectman Ryan Chandler said, in opposition to adding the position, “This is exactly how government grows.”

A clear majority of voters favored the lower, $234,725 amount recommended by selectmen.

Resident Mike Grizkewitsch Sr., speaking on an article seeking $42,118 for the town-owned Umberhine Library, asked why Richmond pays so much for a library that has only 1,000 cardholders.

A library official clarified that he library has more than 1,200 cardholders and multiple residents said the library has many users who are not necessarily cardholders, including people who go there to use computers to look for jobs, and people with laptops who go to use the WiFi service at the library because they don’t have internet access at home.

Voters approved the $42,118 requested to run the library for the year.

Residents approved $12,448 for summer recreation after extensive debate about a proposal for the town, in place of the former town-run program, sending youths to participate in programs at the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Gardiner.

Some residents said the fee for the Gardiner-based program to participants, of $110 a week, was too high, while resident Rose Beckwith, who used to run the local program, noted the salaries paid to the generally teenage counselors who worked in the old program went to Richmond taxpayers or their family members.

LaPlante said Boys and Girls Club officials said they would advertise counselor jobs at the high school and Richmond residents were free to apply for jobs at the club. He said the town is trying the new program and could make changes if participation by Richmond youths is low.

Residents agreed to let selectmen sell the Lincoln Street fire station, which Smith said is neither active nor needed. Proceeds from the sale would go into a reserve account for improvements to town property.

The $2.1 million budget proposed by selectmen was $37,380, or 1.75 percent, less than the current year’s approved budget.

Some factors that will affect tax bills are still unknown, including what Richmond might receive in revenue sharing from the state, and the town’s valuation.

The current property tax rate is $19.15 per $1,000 of assessed valuation.

About 60 residents attended the meeting.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

[email protected]

Twitter: @kedwardskj