BY MIKE LANGE

Correspondent

HARTLAND — Voters in Hartland heeded the advice of their town officials at the annual Town Meeting on Saturday and passed all 22 articles.

In all but one case, the estimated 65 residents at the meeting passed figures recommended by the Board of Selectmen, said Town Manager Susan Frost.

“The one exception was Head Start. The Board of Selectmen wanted to fund it at $300 and the Budget Committee wanted zero dollars. Voters went along with the Budget Committee recommendation,” Frost said.

Hadley Buker was elected to fill out the remaining two years of Barry Russell’s term on the Board of Selectmen in Friday’s municipal elections, edging Kim Godsoe by 58-52 margin. Amy Hale received five votes.

Judith Alton was elected to a three-year term with 104 in an uncontested race.

An unexpected vacancy came up on the Regional School Unit 19 Board of Directors when Dwayne Littlefield announced his resignation in late April, Frost said. As a result, Suz Ackerman was elected with a majority of write-in votes.

The $1.51 million municipal budget is 3.9 percent higher than last year, and the town’s property tax rate is projected to rise from $23.60 to $24.60 per $1,000 of assessed value. That would raise taxes on an $80,000 home $81 to $1,969.

One reason for the town’s projected mil rate increase was the loss of a tannery annex on the tax rolls. The property owner, Prime Tanning Company, abandoned the annex after it was unable to lease it to Tasman Leather Inc., which operates on some of the Prime Tanning property and bought its equipment.

The major items on the warrant included $80,000 to hire Hamlin Associates to conduct the town’s first town-wide revaluation since 1996.

Mike Rogers from the Maine Revenue Services’ Property Tax Division attended the town meeting to answer questions about the revaluation requirement, Frost said.

“A lot of people were concerned that their taxes might go up, but the whole point is to make taxes equitable throughout the town,” Frost said.

Voters also approved $177,000 for a salt and sand shed. The town has never had a salt and sand shed, but Maine Water Company has been asking for one because of environmental concerns, Frost said.

The utility can now borrow the money through the Maine Municipal Bond Bank to construct the shed, and then lease the property to the town.

Voters also authorized town officials to apply $150,000 from the undesignated fund balance to help reduce the tax rate; and passed a $273,340 public works budget, up $30,000 because of projected increase in snowplowing costs.


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