CHELSEA — Residents will have a chance to express their concerns Wednesday about several proposed ordinance changes and the recommendations for next year’s town budget, which calls for a slight spending increase.

The Board of Selectmen is hosting the 6 p.m. public hearing at Chelsea Elementary School prior to its scheduled meeting.

Whether next year’s budget will increase taxes for residents won’t be known until the town finishes its revaluation this summer and the school district and the county finalize their budgets, Town Manager Scott Tilton said.

Secret-ballot voting will be held from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. June 11 at Chelsea Elementary School.

The open Town Meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. June 13 at the school.

The selectmen are recommending spending about $2,000 more next year than is in this year’s budget, and the Budget Committee recommends cutting almost $50,000 from the municipal budget. This year’s budget totals $917,591.

The largest difference between the recommendations from the selectmen and the Budget Committee is the amount of funding for road work.

The selectmen are proposing increasing funds for summer road maintenance by about $5,000, to $245,380; while the Budget Committee recommends cutting the funding by $30,000.

Tilton said he opposes cutting funding for roads.

“I don’t think they were the best cuts to for the town to make, especially the roads,” he said.

Tilton hopes to catch up on some road work next year if the residents approve a warrant article at June’s Town Meeting asking for a $1 million bond to pay for major road repairs.

He said the bond will allow the town to repair more roads faster. If it’s accepted, payments for it will be added to the following year’s budget.

“I think it’s a good idea, personally,” Tilton said. “We’ve had to cut our road budget so much that we’ve gotten behind.”

He said he’ll have a list at the Town Meeting of the roads the town proposes to fix.

The Budget Committee also recommends that the town cut morning busing for high school students. The committee is asking to cut half of the usual $31,000 request from the school district.

The proposed cut would eliminate funding for the buses that take high school students from their homes to Chelsea Elementary School in the morning. Buses leaving from the elementary school in the morning still would take students to the various high schools.

Voters also will decide in June whether to accept new ordinances, ordinance changes and a charter for the town.

The town is proposing new ordinances to regulate wireless communication facilities and to establish a tax club.

Tilton said the proposed wireless communication facility ordinance isn’t in response to any potential developments. The proposal outlines the approval process for new construction and sets height and other requirements.

The tax club would allow residents to pay tax installments each month instead of two lump sums annually.

The proposed ordinance amendments include changes to the minimum lot size and subdivision ordinances.

The minimum lot size amendments would establish penalties and an appeals process. The amendments also would grandfather lots that have been reduced to less than the 2-acre minimum as a result of eminent domain or other sacrifice for public benefit.

Paul Koenig — 621-5663
[email protected]

 

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