BENTON — Residents will vote for a new road commissioner and decide an approximately $800,000 municipal budget at the annual town meeting this weekend.

Elections for municipal officials will be held 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Friday at the Town Office. Voters will assemble 10 a.m. Saturday at the Benton Grange, 29 River Road, to vote on the budget and other articles.

Two candidates, Albert Giroux and David Wing, are vying for a one-year term as road commissioner, the only contested race on the ballot. On Wednesday Todd Hunt, who served as road commissioner for the last four years, said he is not seeking re-election because of a long-term health issue.

The road commissioner supervises public works operations. Benton does not have a public works department, so the office oversees contractors the town hires to take care of winter plowing and summer road projects. The proposed annual salary for the position in 2015 is $800 plus wages equivalent to what a state highway crew supervisor II makes and the federal rate for mileage while on town business.

The approximately $800,000 budget being presented by selectmen will be supported by about $570,000 in property tax revenue, a 1 percent increase from last year, said Town Treasurer Rick Lawrence. The budget includes $3,900 in pay increases for the three town office staff, a 5.5 percent raise from last year, and a $1,500 increase in the town clerk’s pay, according to Town Clerk Susan Rodrigue.

Voters will also be asked to appropriate $15,000 for Social Security/Medicare costs, $3,000 more than last year. The fire protection account is also proposed to receive a $5,000 increase to $160,000 for 2015.

While total wages paid the three selectmen are not being increased, the money may be redistributed, according to Rodrigue. Last year, the first selectman received $11,700, while the other two selectmen received $3,700 apiece along with reimbursement for mileage.

This year, selectmen are proposing to pay the chairman of the board $7,100 and the other two selectmen $6,000. The change is a recognition that all three selectmen, not just the chairman, are sharing responsibilities, said Rodrigue.

Selectmen are also proposing to use $500 in revenue from the Central Maine Power substation tax increment financing district for the alewife restoration project.

Peter McGuire — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: @PeteL_McGuire


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