JEFFERSON — A year with no major elections and final Census figures are largely responsible for a decrease in the municipal budget this year.

Residents will vote on the budget, which is about 1 percent lower than last year’s, by secret ballot March 26 at the Jefferson Fire Station. A public hearing on the warrant is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday at the Jefferson Village School cafeteria.

“We’re basically looking out for taxpayers,” Selectman Greg Johnston said. “Everyone’s having a difficult time with living expenses and everything, so we’re trying to keep everything in check as best as possible.”

The proposed municipal budget for 2013 is $684,211, down from $692,181 in 2012.

Selectman James Hilton said the town can save $3,500 on elections because there’s no federal election this year, and $5,590 for the transfer station because final U.S. Census figures revealed a decline in Jefferson’s population. Costs for the transfer station are split among the five towns that use it based on population.

The budget includes no changes to services for residents, Johnston and Hilton said.

Johnston said town officials have not calculated the municipal budget’s effect on the tax rate. They plan to do so when the school budget is prepared.

The warrant also includes articles asking to appropriate $12,500 for road work, $20,000 for the fire and rescue reserve fund, $750 for ambulance service and $7,039 for contributions to various charitable organizations.

Residents also will vote on allowing money left over from the assessors’ agent salary each year to roll over into a reserve account for tax maps, aerial photos and revaluations.

The last revaluation, a few years ago, cost about $135,000, and the selectmen hope to buy higher-resolution aerial photos of the town than what Lincoln County will cover, Hilton said. Allowing the unspent money to roll over, as it does for some other town accounts, would provide a cushion for those expenses when they occur.

The races for Board of Selectmen, School Committee, Budget Committee and road commissioner are uncontested.

Susan McMillan — 621-5645
[email protected]

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