A municipal budget up 3.25 percent goes to residents at the Windsor Town Meeting Saturday.

In addition to proposed town budget items, voters will also be asked to authorize selectmen to negotiate, and enter into, agreements for up to three years with contractors for winter road plowing and summer mowing alongside roads and at town buildings and cemeteries.

The Town Meeting is 10 a.m. Saturday at Windsor Elementary School.

The budget as proposed by selectmen totals $1.75 million, up 3.25 percent over the current year’s budget of $1.68 million.

Town Manager Theresa Haskell said officials hope increased tax revenues from improvements to a Central Maine Power substation in town will allow the town to keep the tax rate at the current $13.20 for every $1,000 of property valuation. However Haskell said she had not yet calculated the tax rate with the recently approved school budget included.

“We’re hoping to keep taxes the same, that’s the goal,” she said Thursday.

Road construction is proposed to be the single biggest increase in the budget, as officials continue a trend of trying to do more road work in town, according to Ray Bates, chairman of the selectmen.

The major road construction budget is proposed at $600,000, up $50,000 from the current year, an 8.33 percent increase.

Over the last six years, the town has made improvements to 33 percent of its 32.88 miles of roads the town is responsible for. If the $600,000 requested is approved by voters, the town could get close to 50 percent by the end of the year, Haskell said.

The road construction warrant article would extend the amount of time within which that $600,000 could be spent on road projects from the typical 12 months to 18 months, to allow some flexibility in case of unexpected obstacles or delays. Any leftover funds, the warrant notes, would be used for next year’s road construction projects.

The budget uses $200,000 from the undesignated fund balance account, a fund generally made up of money unspent in previous years and used for unanticipated expenses, to offset the amount needed from taxpayers.

Haskell said the fund would still have enough money in it to be within auditor’s recommended guidelines if voters approve taking $200,000 from it.

Residents will also be asked, in three separate articles, to allow selectmen to enter into contracts of up to three years each for winter road maintenance, mowing roadsides, and mowing at town buildings and cemeteries. Without that authority, selectmen are limited to reaching one-year deals with contractors for those services.

Being able to strike longer deals could allow the town to negotiate a lower price, according to Bates.

“It gives us the ability to work with a contractor for more than one year, so we can get a better price,” Bates said. “Take mowing, for example. If (the potential lawn-mower) knows he can negotiate with us for multiple years, it means he can give us a better price.”

Selectmen and the Budget Committee made different recommendations on how much the town should budget for General Assistance, or welfare. Selectmen recommend $10,000, while the Budget Committee recommends $5,000.

Haskell said the town, in recent years, has spent between $3,000 and $4,000 a year on General Assistance. She said Selectmen recommended the higher amount so the town would be prepared for a “bad year” and more people seek General Assistance than normal.

Windsor’s elections were Tuesday, but no races were contested.

Bates encouraged residents to attend.

“It’s certainly better if more people turn out,” he said. “It gives us a better sense of what the town wants to do. If the same 25 or 30 people show up every year, it doesn’t tell you much about what the town wants.”

Keith Edwards – 621-5647

[email protected]

Twitter: @kedwardskj

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.