As a town councilor for the town of Fairfield, it is my responsibility to provide taxpayers with information to make just decisions. If the proposed budget passes, we will all look an increased mil rate, making it more difficult to survive in tough times, let alone thrive and encourage development.

Last year, the MSAD 49 board proposed a budget with a 7.2 percent increase. The town was able to reduce the budget by $200,000 to balance the $222,809 needed by the school district. In doing this, the town was able to prevent the tax rate from rising.

This year, it appears as though the district’s budget increase is a mere 2.4 percent. When we analyze the numbers with respect to taxes, that 2.4 percent increase translates to increases for each of the district’s towns (8.94 percent for Fairfield, 16.60 percent for Benton, 14.20 percent for Clinton, 3.97 percent for Albion). This is a total property tax increase of $773,950.

The town recognizes the importance of education. The question lies in whether the increase is actually necessary. With a surplus of money lying in an emergency fund and the wasteful use of expensive lighting during evening sporting events, there is still some room for adjustment at the district level.

The town council works diligently to hold the line on taxes, and it’s time for the school board to take responsibility and do the same.

As voters head to the polls on Tuesday, think about those who struggle from day to day to support their families with the overwhelming costs of food, housing, insurance, gas and oil.

It’s about time that we, as taxpayers, teach the school board a lesson on frugality.

Harold Murray

Fairfield town councilor

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