RANDOLPH — Municipal spending in the proposed budget residents will face Wednesday has been decreased slightly from last year, but changes in the town’s state valuation will lead to the approved school budget increasing the tax rate.

Residents will vote on the $1,798,924 municipal budget, down 2.5 percent from last year, during the annual Town Meeting being held at 7 p.m. Wednesday at T.C. Hamlin School.

The budget calls for $1,413,924 to be raised in taxes, according to Town Clerk Lynn Mealey.

Residents also will decide whether they want to enact an ordinance to ban the use of consumer fireworks.

Mealey said the tax rate won’t be known until the assessment from the town’s assessors is complete.

The Regional School Unit 11 budget passed in June will cause taxes in Randolph to increase $81.48 for a property assessed at $100,000 because of increases in its state valuation, according to documents from the school board.

The $21.5 million RSU 11 budget passed in June increased only 0.35 percent from the year before.

Besides the fireworks ordinance, another issue that might prompt discussion is the town’s share of the cost of the Gardiner Public Library.

Members of both the Board of Selectmen and the Budget Committee split on whether to fund the $16,971 request for residents to continue using the library free of charge or switch to a system requiring residents to pay the $65-per-household membership fee and seek reimbursement from the town.

The budget request remained unchanged from last year’s.

The selectmen voted 2–1 for the town to remain part of the library, according to board minutes.

Robert Henderson Jr., the board chairman, voted in opposition, recommending the town raise $10,000 for the private membership model.

The Budget Committee voted 5–4 to recommend funding $16,971 to stay with the library.

Henderson didn’t respond to a phone call Friday for comment.

Ann Davis, the library director, said cutting the library funding probably would lead to fewer people from Randolph using the library — which is what happened in Farmingdale after the town switched to a similar model in 2009.

“Once you put a barrier up like that, it stops people from coming,” she said.

Davis said some people won’t seek the reimbursement from the town because they see it as welfare. It also prevents children from getting their own cards, she said, which leads to them not becoming library users.

Davis said towns leaving the regional library also could have negative consequences for the entire library.

“I’d hate to see that happen,” she said. “I’m also fearful that, because of this happening, Randolph children will be the only ones in SAD 11 who don’t have access to a library.”

Paul Koenig — 621-5663
[email protected]

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