WINDSOR — Residents signed off on next year’s municipal budget Saturday with a slight tax increase, even though the town is expected to face a larger tax hike from the school budget.

The only change voters made in the $1,678,561 proposed budget was reducing the amount of fund balance used to reduce the tax burden and the amount of expected revenue sharing from the state.

Only 34 residents attended the Town Meeting, held at Windsor Elementary School.

The town will likely see a tax rate increase of $1 per $1,000 of assessed value next year from the municipal, school and county budgets, according to Town Manager Theresa Haskell.

The approved town budget, 2.7 percent higher than this year, represents a tax rate increase of 21 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value, she said.

Some residents voiced concerns about the Regional School Unit 12 budget, set in a June 8 meeting, which represents a  tax rate increase of $1.68 per $1,000 of assessed value if it passes.

The town, however, is using its reserve funds to keep the total tax increase at $1 per $1,000 of assessed value, meaning an additional $100 for property valued at $100,000.

A previous version of this story misstated the amount of the budget increase and did not indicate the use of reserve funds to lower the tax increase.

The validation vote will be held June 28 for the school district, which also includes Alna, Chelsea, Palermo, Somerville, Westport Island, Whitefield and Wiscasset.

Resident Steve Hoad told others at the Town Meeting to keep the anticipated tax hike from the school budget in mind when voting for municipal budget requests.

“The school budget’s out of control,” he said. “The only budget we seem to be able to control at this particular second is the town budget.”

Haskell asked whether residents thought it was fair to cut services on the municipal side to make up for increases from the school district.

“When I have to take a dollar out of my wallet,” Hoad responded, “whether it’s for school service or town service, fairness doesn’t come into question. It’s a dollar I have to spend.”

Residents approved one-time funding expenses for a public works building addition, which includes a bathroom, and a new generator for the Town Hall.

Town officials recommended lowering the $350,000 requested from the undesignated funds to $200,000 in order to keep more money for easing the tax burden in future years.

Haskell said that would give the town around $750,000 in its undesignated fund balance at the end of 2014.

Residents at the meeting already had approved taking $300,000 from the fund balance for major road construction and $200,000 from the fund balance to pay for the final phase of transfer station improvements.

The state budget passed by the Legislature on Thursday reduces the municipal revenue sharing for Windsor to $103,084, according to Haskell. The town warrant had projected $115,000 from revenue sharing, so residents reduced it to the projection from the most recent state budget figure.

Voters also approved an animal trespass and nuisance ordinance and changes to the streets and ways ordinance at the meeting.

Some residents complained that town officials didn’t publicize the ordinance changes enough before the Town Meeting.

The selectmen and Haskell responded that they held a public hearing for the new ordinance and advertised the notices in the newspaper and in public places around town.

“We try as many avenues as we can, and that’s all we can do,” Selectman Ray Bates said.

Haskell said the town also is looking into getting a marquee for outside the Town Hall to display announcements.

The animal trespass and nuisance ordinance sets guidelines for when the animal control officer, another authorized town employee, or a law enforcement officer can remove or control a trespassing animal. It also sets penalties for the owners or keepers of animals found to be a nuisance or trespassing.

Paul Koenig — 621-5663
[email protected]

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.