CHINA — Voters at Saturday’s annual town business meeting were feeling generous toward the less fortunate members of the community and the area.

Given a choice between a smaller or a larger donation to two of the dozen regional charitable organizations on the list to be helped, a majority favored the larger donation.

As a result, after the new fiscal year begins in July the Children’s Center and the Sexual Assault Crisis and Support Center will each get $1,750, as recommended by the Budget Committee, instead of the $1,000 recommended by selectmen. The total appropriated for 12 social service and nonprofit agencies was $15,575.

On an earlier question asking for $14,500 for the town’s 2012-13 welfare account, several voters asked whether that was enough. Town Manager Daniel L’Heureux replied that it should be; the town still has more than $5,000 unspent from last year’s$16,500 appropriation, which runs through June 30.

Welfare is one of the accounts the town is allowed by law to overspend if qualified applicants need more money than voters approve, the manager said.

One resident said she was among the handful who voted against spending $20,950 for the recreation program, because she considers welfare a higher priority.

Two other attempts to increase funding were rejected.

Selectmen and Budget Committee members recommended giving the China Rescue Unit $17,000. instead of $20,000 requested; and recommended giving the Albert Church Brown Memorial Library $2,250 instead of $4,500 requested. Amendments to increase the amounts were defeated.

One hundred and forty voters attended the Saturday morning meeting, well over the quorum requirement of 122. They approved all warrant articles, setting the 2012-13 municipal budget and approving policies, like authorizing selectmen to contract for plowing town roads and setting 2012-13 tax due dates.

They heard reports from several town committees, witnessed the presentation of 13 Spirit of America awards for volunteerism, and heard repeated calls for more volunteers to help staff the rescue unit, plan a central town library, improve Thurston Park, support The Town Line newspaper and revive the Historical Society.

The request to exceed the tax levy limit set by state law was approved, on the required written ballot, by a vote of 98 to 20, Moderator Richard Thompson announced.

L’Heureux said the amount needed from taxation to support the budget was almost $45,000 above the state limit.

However, the manager said, approval of all expenditures requested Saturday would not increase the tax rate.

The school budget, which requires substantially more tax money than the municipal budget, was not considered Saturday. It will be voted on in June.


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