SKOWHEGAN — Residents at the annual Town Meeting Monday night voted to raise the full $97,867 requested for the public library; the full $24,000 for the Chamber of Commerce; and the full $10,000 requested for the restoration of the iconic Skowhegan Indian.

Approval came after three hours of debate, amendments, number crunching and residents standing to defend money for children, senior citizens, sexual assault victims and to stop family violence.

In the end, voters agreed to raise $8,865,666 to run the town in 2013-14, spending that is $3,765 more than the current budget that expires June 30.

The amount to be raised from taxation — about $5.86 million — is up about 1.25 percent because of a drop in revenue and less money being taken from surplus in the proposed budget.

The current property tax rate is $16.20 for every $1,000 in assessed valuation. The final tax rate will not be known until after the final budget votes on the county and school budgets and a determination on the future of state revenue sharing.

In discussion on spending for the public library, resident Warren Shay explained that the proposed $97,867 was for operations only, not construction on the expansion, which will come from donations and grants.

Selectmen and the town Budget Committee both had recommended the town raise $90,000.

Selectwoman Joy Mase and Budget Committee member Ann Spaulding said they supported all the good work the library does, but less spending was in order. Voters disagreed and voted to raise the full amount.

During discussion on the Skowhegan Indian stature, Dugan Murphy, executive director of Main Street Skowhegan, said that raising the $10,000 would generate $10,000-$15,000 more in matching grants.

Murphy said the total cost of restoring the Indian is estimated at $65,000. Monday’s vote will leave about $8,000 to be raised.

Skowhegan voters also agreed to leave the town Budget Committee intact. An article to repeal a 1964 vote establishing the committee failed by a large margin.

Voters also agreed to issued up to $11,880,000 in bonds to pay for sanitary sewer system improvements, necessary to comply with the state Department of Environmental Protection requirements to reduce or eliminate sewage overflows into the Kennebec River.

Residents in voting early Monday night agreed to spend:

• $1,102,790 for the Police Department.

• $745,445 for the Fire Department.

• $804,881 for solid waste management.

• A combined $1,274,796 for Public Works’ summer roads, winter road and vehicle maintenance.

• $871,905 for debt service.

In other early voting, residents agreed to spend $1,269,233 for general government, which included a wage increase of $2,000 requested by Town Clerk/Town Treasurer Gail Pelotte for recently obtaining full certification. That increase is in addition to a 2 percent cost-of-living adjustment in her salary and a 1 percent merit increase. Pelotte, an elected official, now is paid $41,943 per year.

Residents started the night looking at a proposed $8,815,828 spending package recommended by the Board of Selectmen for the coming year.

The final numbers Monday came in $49,838 more than the selectmen’s recommendation and $24,352 less than the imposed cap on spending, according to Christine Almand, the town’s finance officer.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367
[email protected]

 

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