UNITY — Residents will be asked to decide how to fund the building of a new Town Office when they gather for the annual Town Meeting on Saturday.

Selectmen are proposing paying for the building, which would be on a piece of land acquired from the local school district, using $250,000 in bonds that would be taken out with a 2.75 percent interest rate over 10 years.

The business portion of the meeting will take place at 10 a.m. Saturday in the Unity Elementary School gymnasium. There is one contested race for a seat on the Board of Selectmen. Elections are scheduled for noon to 8 p.m. Friday at the school.

The town’s overall proposed budget is higher than 2012’s, but the amount of money to be raised through taxes is lower, Town Clerk Sue Lombard said.

Selectmen are proposing raising $405,114 in taxes to fund the 2013 budget, which is about $64,000 less than in 2012, she said.

The only major increase in expenses comes from having to renew contracts for road maintenance, Selectman Chris Rossignol said. The cost for winter road maintenance, including plowing, was $160,000 in 2012; the amount proposed for 2013 is $177,000.

For summer road maintenance, selectmen are proposing to spend $286,511. In 2012 they recommended $236,000, but did not get to some projects and are rolling over $36,000, said Rossignol.

Meanwhile, the town is continuing to plan for the construction of a new Town Office, and residents will vote Saturday on how to finance the project. Selectmen are proposing using a $250,000 bond, which if approved and issued, would bring the town debt to a total of $914,121 after interest.

The project has been in discussion since 2011, when the Town Office moved to the Unity Elementary School from Clifford Common, after a rent increase there.

At last year’s Town Meeting, two selectmen walked out and one later resigned, after voters rejected options for a new building and voted to start over. Residents debated the need, cost and location of the building for nearly two hours.

Rossignol said that since the formation of a Town Office Committee in April, things have have been calmer and he does not anticipate Saturday’s meeting being contentious.

“Everything seems to be going more smoothly. The committee has done a good job of keeping people informed,” he said.

Also on the agenda Saturday is a proposal for amending the land use ordinance to expand the existing retail district into an area along the southeastern side of Main Street, north of the town, from the railroad tracks to the intersection of Route 220.

The town’s comprehensive plan is also due to be updated and would need to be done before this can happen, Rossignol said.

In the race for one seat on the Board of Selectmen, Jean Bourg is running against Rossignol for a three-year term.

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368
[email protected]

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