The proposed Whitefield budget going before voters Saturday is up by more than $100,000 over the budget approved last year, largely as a result of road work recommended by a town committee that found that most of the town’s roads need substantial repair.

About $70,000 of the proposed increase would go to the town’s budget for road work, which has historically been insufficient to prevent the deterioration of the road network, according to the road committee’s report released at the end of last year. The committee found that the town’s road budget could previously only pay for the repaving or resurfacing of the town’s 27 miles of paved roads every 30 years and that 60 percent of the town’s gravel roads need reconstruction.

The additional $70,000 recommended by the Board of Selectmen and the Budget Committee brings the amount appropriated for cutting brush, grading, surfacing, paving and repairing town roads next year to $334,700.

The overall $1,052,293 municipal budget going to voters Saturday is more than $107,000 higher than the budget approved at last year’s Town Meeeting. This year’s Town Meeting is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday at Whitefield Elementary School. The polls for the town election, with no contested races, will be open from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday at the school.

Aaron Miller, Whitefield’s town clerk, said the tax rate next year will likely be down from 2013 and potentially up slightly from this year’s rate of $14.25 per $1,000 of assessed value. The town doesn’t yet know what it will have to pay the school district, what it will receive in revenue sharing funds from the state and what abatement requests will total, he said.

The goal of increasing spending on roads is to restore the 27.2 miles of paved roads and 11.3 miles of gravel roads maintained by the town over the next 20 years in a way that meets the needs identified in the report and is affordable for the town, according to the road committee’s report.

After the road work request, the next highest increase over the budget approved last year is $9,500 to construct a larger parking lot for the town’s fire station and public meeting building. The warrant item also calls for using the remaining $1,025 in a building account to construct the larger lot.

Miller said a larger lot is needed because there isn’t enough parking during busy events, particularly during the November election and on Whitefield Days.

“What we had is people parking in the road,” he said. “That kind of creates a hazard.”

Also, during these popular events, firefighters wouldn’t have places to park if they had to respond to an emergency, Miller said.

In the town election scheduled before the Town Meeting, four incumbents are running for five open positions. Selectmen Lester Sheaffer is running for re-election to the three-year position, Road Commissioner David Boynton is running for re-election to the one-year position and three Planning Board members, Glenn Angell, Marianne Marple and Carl Ribiero, are running for re-election to the two-year positions.

No one took papers out to run for the open position on the Regional School Unit 12 school board, a three-year position.

Paul Koenig — 621-5663

[email protected]

Twitter: @paul_koenig


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