CHELSEA — Voters will have two municipal budget proposals to chose from at their annual Town Meeting Thursday.

The meeting is 6:30 p.m. at the Chelsea Elementary School.

Selectmen and the Budget Committee couldn’t agree on the 2012-11 municipal budget amount.

The Budget Committee is recommending a $341,060 municipal budget, which is $3,000 more than last year. Selectmen are asking for $386,060 to run the town, an increase of $48,000.

Town Manager Scott Tilton said the owner of a $100,000 home would either pay $2 or $32 more in taxes annually, depending on what is approved at Town Meeting.

He said the board’s recommendation pays for a full-time clerk at the Town Office, increases money for winter roads, and sets aside money for a townwide revaluation, which is estimated to cost $135,000.

“It’s something we need to do to create more equity in property values across the town,” Tilton said. “Studies show a third of the property will go up, a third go down, and a third will remain the same.”

He said Chelsea’s share of the school budget went up $86,000, which equates to a 43 cent increase per $1,000 worth of property valuation.

“I wouldn’t call (selectmen’s recommendation) a substantial increase in the municipal portion, but people should be aware that the school budget will have quite an impact,” he said.

He said the Budget Committee recommended cutting $15,875 from the high school transportation budget while selectmen recommend a $550 increase from last year. In 2011-12, the town paid $31,200 to bus high school students.

“The committee’s goal was to only have afternoon high school bus transportation, realizing that most parents work until five. It wouldn’t be feasible,” he said. “But most parents on their way to work can get their child to school in the morning to be picked up by the bus.”

The committee also cut $2,450 from charitable requests and disagreed with selectmen on amounts for summer roads and the capital investments and reserve accounts.

Selectmen recommended $23,000 for the capital and reserves. The Budget Committee recommended $18,000.

“Right now that account is way under-funded for what our needs are going to be, so I proposed funding that at a high level,” he said. “Both groups saw the value of funding this account.”

Last year, the town only set aside $13,500 for the account.

On Thursday, residents also will decide on five ordinances fire department service billing, culverts, to regulate the storage and disposal of garbage and junk, exempting eligible active duty military personnel from motor vehicle excise tax law and property-assessed clean energy, known as PACE.

Mechele Cooper — 621-5663

[email protected]


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