VASSALBORO — Residents will see a slight tax increase if they approve the proposed budget at the annual Town Meeting next week.

Voters will decide on the $1,825,480 budget starting at 6:30 p.m. Monday, June 10, at the Vassalboro Community School. The municipal election, with two contested positions, and the school budget validation will be held 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, June 11, at the town office.

The proposed budget will increase the tax rate by 20 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, to $11.20, according to documents provided by the town. This represents a tax increase of $20 for a property assessed at $100,000.

“There were an awful lot of people that worked long and hard on this to hold the mill rate where we did,” Town Manager Mary Sabins said.

“I think we’re pretty comfortable with what’s being proposed and hopeful it’s not worse,” she added.

Most of the 5 percent increase in the municipal budget stems from the town’s proposal to issue a bond to purchase a tanker firetruck.

The warrant asks residents to authorize the selectmen to purchase a truck costing up to $280,000. The first payment for the bond is expected to be around $88,000.

Sabins said the old tanker truck needs to be replaced.

She said only four firefighters in the volunteer fire department can operate the truck because it was retrofitted from an old tanker. Sabins also said the department has had difficulty getting the tanker certified.

Fire Chief Eric Rowe couldn’t be reached for comment. The fire department’s website states that there are 19 active firefighters.

Sabins said she expects the firetruck bond question to be the most controversial at the meeting.

The warrant is also requesting funds to purchase a new public works truck, at a cost of only $34,000 from taxpayers.

Two residents are vying for an open seat on the select board in the municipal election.

Robert Browne, who has been on the board for about a decade, is facing James Jurdak, 61, a municipal tax assessor.

Jurdak said he’s running because he wants to offer a different perspective to the board.

“Some people in town have expressed that maybe we need new blood in the town office,” he said.

Jurdak said it’s important to be conservative about everything in the budget, although he said his candidacy isn’t a reflection on the current board members.

“I thought I’d just throw my hat in the ring and see what happens; that’s all,” Jurdak said.

Browne, general manager of Natanis Golf Course, couldn’t be reached for comment.

Residents also will pick two school committee members from three candidate: incumbents Phillip Landry and Kevin Levasseur, and Bradley Stout.

Three sanitary district trustee seats are available with no candidates on the ballot.

The town is preparing for the possibility of losing $175,000 in state revenue sharing by asking residents to approve the selectmen taking up to $100,000 from the roughly $1.2 million in surplus funds.

Sabins said the town also would have to trim another $75,000 from the budget if the cuts to municipal revenue sharing proposed by Gov. Paul LePage go through.

She said they may know more by the Town Meeting because the Legislature’s budget-writing committee plans to submit a two-year budget by the end of the week.

Paul Koenig — 621-5663
[email protected]

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