RANDOLPH — Residents passed a municipal budget slightly higher than last year’s budget and voted to ban consumer fireworks Wednesday night at the annual Town Meeting.

Voters opted for amounts lower than the Board of Selectmen’s recommendation on some articles, decreasing the amount recommended by the board by about $10,000.

Around 60 residents voted at the meeting, held at T.C. Hamlin School. They approved a $1,789,120 budget, which is 3 percent greater than last year’s.

Residents went with the Budget Committee’s recommendation to raise $295,000 for contracted services, as opposed to the board’s recommendation of $304,804.

The town’s treasurer, Janet Richards, said she doesn’t understand how the amount recommended by the Budget Committee and approved by voters will cover all of the contracted services for the town.

Robert Henderson, chairman of the Board of Selectmen, said he is happy with how the meeting went and doesn’t anticipate any problems with the lower amount.

Residents voted to repeal an ordinance enacted last year that set restrictions on consumer fireworks before passing a new ordinance that bans them altogether.

Voters approved the $16,971 request to fund resident access to the Gardiner Public Library.

Some residents advocating switching to a reimbursement program and lowering the the amount allocated to the library to $10,000 tried forcing a vote by ballot, but the motion failed.

Ann Davis, director of the Gardiner Public Library, spoke against the idea of switching to a model in which households would have to pay for the $65 library card fee and then get reimbursed from the town.

Davis said it would cost around $23,000 to reimburse all of the households in Randolph that use the library, meaning some wouldn’t get the free access.

Residents also went with the Budget Committee’s recommendation to use more money from the general fund and less from taxpayers to fund the Public Works Department’s $55,500 budget.

Mike Carrie, the Budget Committee chairman, told residents they would be voting for higher taxes if they went with the board’s recommendation.

None of the selectmen explained why they recommended using more taxpayer money than from the general fund for public works.

Town Clerk Lynn Mealey said before the meeting that the tax rate won’t be known until the assessment from the town’s assessors is complete.

Changes in the town’s state valuation will lead to the approved school budget increasing the tax rate.

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 previous year’s budget.

Paul Koenig — 621-5663

[email protected]

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