BENTON — Voters at the annual Town Meeting on Saturday can expect to see a drop in municipal spending in the coming year. They also can expect to see some familiar names on the election ballot at the polls on Friday.

In voting on Friday, incumbent Selectman Ryan Liberty, the board chairman, is being challenged by former Planning Board Chairman Robert Morrissette, who ran against Liberty and lost in 2009.

Liberty is seeking his third, three-year term on the Board of Selectmen.

In the other contested race on this year’s ballot, former Selectman Richard Lawrence, the town’s alewife warden, and Arthur Thompson Jr., the former code enforcement officer, are running for one seat as tax collector, excise tax collector and treasurer. The position is vacant with the retirement of David Gagnon.

Liberty said spending for the coming year, if all the Town Meeting articles are approved, will be about $806,792, which is nearly $63,000 less than in 2011. He said the town caught up with some paving projects last year and can afford to spend about $81,700 this year as opposed to $118,000 for paving in a normal year.

Voters also will be asked to spend $135,000 for fire protection this year, $115,000 for solid waste management and to take $100,000 from surplus accounts to off set taxation.

Liberty said the town’s tax rate of $11.50 has stayed the same for the past couple of years and should remain steady this year.

The town also will be asked to approve a new ordinance that would exempt eligible active duty members of the military from paying town excise taxes. The Budget Committee recommends passage of the article.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

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