MADISON — The town’s municipal budget should have little impact on property tax rates, but county and school budgets could still affect the amount of money residents will have to pay in the upcoming year, according to the town manager.

On Monday, residents approved a $2.25 million municipal budget for 2013-2014, a number that is about $19,500 less than the current budget of $2,271,472.

The annual Town Meeting, which took place at Madison Area Junior High School and drew about 200 people, was for the most part business as usual, with residents voting to approve all but one of the 30 articles presented to them.

Residents rejected a $19,495 grant that was awarded to the town by the U.S. Department of Justice and would benefit the police department. Town Manager Dana Berry said selectmen and the advisory board recommended that the grant, which would require the town to match the funds provided, not be accepted because it would lock the town into that commitment for four years.

“With economic times the way they are, we didn’t feel it would be a good idea,” he said.

Berry said the town budget will not affect property tax rates, but residents might see an increase if the $10.36 million budget proposed by the board of directors of School Administrative District 59 is passed.

He said the town does stand to see a decrease in services if state legislation to end municipal revenue sharing is passed. Legislators are working on a state budget that will be approved by the end of the month and so far includes cuts to the amounts of money municipalities receive from the state. Madison would stand to lose between $150,000 to $300,000, which would be made up for through a loss of some services, said Berry.

Somerset County officials will hold a public hearing Tuesday on the proposed county budget of $11.12 million, which is $597,810 lower than the current budget. If passed it could help offset the expected tax increase from the local school district.

On Monday residents also voted to approve using $200,000 from undesignated town money to lower taxes.

The meeting lasted about an hour and a half, during which residents approved $637,736 for administrative costs, including boards, committees, administration and code enforcement; $1 million for public safety, including ambulance, fire and police; $314,517 for waste disposal and storm drains; and $704,379 for public works.

They also voted to adopt a change to the town’s sign ordinance that allows flashing signs.

Elections are Tuesday with polls open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Town Office on Weston Avenue. There are contested races for the Board of Selectmen and the board of directors of SAD 59.

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368
[email protected]

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