STRONG — Voters decided to raise about $9,000 more than what selectmen recommended at the annual Town Meeting on Saturday.

About 60 people attended the meeting and approved a $538,307 budget, which is still a decrease from last year’s budget of $561,450, according to Sandra Mitchell, town treasurer.

Selectmen had proposed a $529,157 budget for the coming year. Voters on Saturday, however, increased that amount to avoid turning off certain street lights in town, along with other changes to the selectmen’s spending plan, Mitchell said.

Voters rejected selectmen’s plan to halve the street light budget to $3,800, which would have darkened some of the street lights on Main Street. They instead maintained the budget at last year’s level of $7,600.

In other changes to the spending plan, voters approved raising $5,000 to pay for bills tied to testing at the former town landfill. The site has been closed since the early 1990s, but still requires environmental testing as part of the closure, Mitchell said.

The other budget increases came from a series of small changes to other articles, she said.

Voters also rejected a request by selectmen to raise $8,000 for a new plow truck, with residents at the meeting arguing that the town employees could repair an existing truck, Town Clerk Lois Barker said. The meeting and town supper lasted about four hours.

In elections Friday, 171 people cast ballots and two incumbent selectmen, Michael Carlton and Joan Reed, were re-elected to three-year terms. Carlton, with 119 votes, and Reed, 117 votes, beat out challenger Mike Pond, who received 86 votes. Write-in candidate Mary White received 27 votes in the selectmen’s race.

There are 1,024 registered voters in town and the current property tax rate is $11.80 for every $1,000 in property valuation. Barker could not say how the budget approved Saturday would affect the tax rate, which includes county and school taxes.

David Robinson — 861-9287

[email protected]

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