RICHMOND — A municipal budget down 7.6 percent that’s expected to cause a property tax decrease goes to residents at the Town Meeting set for June 2.

If everything on the warrant passes as proposed, town officials anticipate the tax rate will decrease from $19.30 for every $1,000 of property value to about $19.00 per $1,000.

For the owner of a $100,000 home, that would mean a tax bill of $1,900, down by $30.

That’s despite a projected 4.5 percent, or $119,000, increase in Richmond’s $3 million share of the Regional School Unit 2 school budget, which goes to voters in June.

A public meeting is planned for 6 p.m. Wednesday at Marcia Buker Elementary School to provide residents with a preview of the Town Meeting warrant items and other information.

“We hope people come,” said Peter Warner, selectboard chairman. “It’ll be the first Town Meeting preview meeting we’ve had. We’ll give people information, have a talk about tax increment financing, the comprehensive plan, and people can ask questions.”

Last year the town paid off about $265,000 in outstanding debt, a payment that now doesn’t need to be included in the proposed budget.

Warner said the lack of that debt, as well as careful budgeting by Town Manager Janet Smith and department heads, allowed the town budget to be lowered enough to provide a tax decrease for residents, the first such decrease in at least five years.

“I’m pretty happy. We retired some debt, which helped a lot, and the new town manager worked diligently and hard with the department heads and did well,” Warner said of the municipal budget of $2.1 million, down by $164,000 from the current year’s budget.

The Town Meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. June 2 at Richmond High School. Voters will decide the fate of the budget in multiple individual warrant articles.

One new big-ticket item proposed this year is $200,000 to pave dirt portions of Stable, Parks, Knickerbocker and Weeks roads and Lincoln and Spruce streets. The paving of the dirt sections of road would be in addition to $90,000 in the capital outlay budget — the same amount spent last year — for paving projects on paved roads.

Without the $200,000 in new paving, the town budget would have been even lower, but Warner said officials propose to use some of the savings in the budget to catch up on paving.

“We are asking taxpayers to consider spending some of that difference on road repair and construction,” he said. “It makes sense, in that we’re going to save around $360,000 this year, to spend a portion of that to get more roads to where they should be, so we won’t be sending a grader out all the time” to grade dirt roads.

Voters also will be asked to approve a new floodplain ordinance updated to reflect current federal standards and changes to the town’s land use ordinance regarding rules for mobile homes.

The changes would remove several exceptions to land use rules now provided for older mobile homes in the current ordinance.

Warner said voters rejected a different version of the land use ordinance last year as having too much ambiguous language, and the changes have since been reviewed and some language replaced to update the town’s ordinance to reflect state rules for mobile homes.

One article seeks residents’ permission for town officials to work with the state Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to clarify where the boundary line and rights of way are around the state’s landing for Swan Island boat traffic, which abuts town land along the Kennebec River waterfront.

Warner said the state plans to make improvements to its Swan Island landing and, before doing the work, wants to make sure it has an agreement in place with the town confirming it has a right of way to access it and clarifying where the boundary lines are for each property.

The town meeting will be followed by elections June 9 with polls open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the high school. All races for local positions on the ballot are uncontested.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

[email protected]

Twitter: @kedwardskj

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