RANDOLPH — Roads and sewage, recapitalizing a depleted trust fund and paying a consultant to upgrade the town’s comprehensive plan has resulted in a municipal budget proposal that’s $59,000 more than last year.

Residents will vote on the proposal Wednesday at Town Meeting.

Janet Richards, the town’s tax collector and treasurer, said the property tax rate will be approximately $15.50 per $1,000 assessed value if residents agree to an $861,223 budget recommended by selectmen. It would be $15.25 per $1,000 if they go with the recommendation of the Budget Committee, which is $840,198.

The current tax rate is $14.15 per $1,000 assessed property value.

Selectman Ed Gorham said there were a number of issues selectmen had to deal with this year. One was the old cemetery trust fund the town took over a few years ago.

“Under state law, the interest that this trust fund gains was to be used by the town for any kind of perpetual cemetery work,” Gorham said. “At some point in time, the Board of Selectmen used the interest as well as the principal.

“After consulting with the town’s attorney, we’re putting the money back. It was used for cemetery work, but not used in the proper fashion. In any event, the amount we have to pay back is $33,000, and we’re going to do it over three years. The first installment is $11,000.”

Gorham said selectmen included $8,000 in the budget to cover the cost of hiring a consultant to help the town upgrade its comprehensive plan. The document received its last facelift 15 years ago, he said.

“We’ll be out of compliance next year if we don’t start moving on it,” he said.

“We also added money (in the budget) for roads and sewers. The high cost of paving material makes it difficult to try and maintain a level of road work that we’ve become accustomed to. We increased both of those accounts by $5,000.”

Both the Budget Committee and selectmen recommend not raising money for the town’s firetruck account — even though an article was included in the warrant asking residents to appropriate $130,000. Gorham said that account has a balance of $35,000 to $40,000.

“We’ve been putting $5,000 in every year,” he said. “The Budget Committee and selectmen were looking at it and the numbers essentially scared everybody away . . . but we thought it was important that the Fire Department had an opportunity to speak on it. It’s a big enough issue.”

Residents also will decide on an amended ordinance regulating the storage and disposal of garbage and junk; an amended floodplain ordinance; and whether to enact a property assessed clean energy ordinance that will make it possible for Randolph residents to qualify for loans or grants for home energy improvements.

Randolph’s share of the Regional School Unit 11 education budget is $787,693.

The town also has to pay the county $88,403. Richards said the town is in the second year of a five-year payment plan with the county. Last year, Kennebec County moved the start of its budget year from Jan. 1 to July 1. Under the change, the county government is allowing municipalities to finance the six-month assessment over a five-year period.

Town Meeting is 7 p.m. Wednesday at T.C. Hamlin School.

Richards said town reports are available at the Town Office during business hours: Monday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Tuesday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Wednesday and Thursday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Friday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Mechele Cooper — 621-5663

[email protected]

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