ATHENS — Municipal spending is expected to increase slightly in articles proposed for the coming year at the annual Town Meeting on Saturday.

First Selectman Guy Anton said the increases are the result of “nickel and dime” items covering several spending lines. The budget approved by voters at last year’s Town Meeting came in at about $446,000, and Anton said that figure will be “up just a little bit.” The spending does not include schools and the town’s share of the county tax.

The tax rate currently is $18.99 for every $1,000 in property valuation.

Town Meeting elections are 4-8 p.m. Friday at Somerset Academy. The business meeting is 1:30 p.m. Saturday at the academy. The only contested race on the ballot is for road commissioner.

Dwight Weese, the incumbent road commissioner, is being challenged by former road commissioner John Barron, whom Weese defeated last year.

Barron, 62, has been road commissioner off and on for 14 years. Weese, 49, had worked for the state Department of Transportation for six years before he was elected last year.

All other positions are uncontested.

Anton said increases in spending include money to fix leaks in the roof of the town garage, a proposed $1 an hour increase in pay for the road commissioner and a helper, and upkeep and mowing the Wesserunsett rest area on Route 150 that the town has taken over from the state.

The town also has taken over snowplowing at the Athens Community School since residents voted to leave the Madison-based school district. Anton said there is no point in putting that cost — about $2,000 for wages, fuel and sand — into the school budget because it all comes from Athens taxpayers and reduces paperwork.

There also was a deficit in spending at the town transfer station in 2014, which has to be made up this year. Also proposed is $40,000 to be taken from three separate road accounts for the purchase of a used plow truck.

Big ticket items to be voted on Saturday include $165,000 for town roads, including $55,500 for summer roads, $42,000 for winter roads and $34,500 to stockpile sand and salt.

Voters also will be asked to raise and appropriate $96,424 for general town government, including officers’ salaries and insurance; $30,000 for the Athens Volunteer Fire Department; $11,000 for support of the poor; $25,000 for road paving; and $81,000 for solid waste disposal.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

Twitter: @Doug_Harlow


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