The proposed town budget headed to Chelsea voters Thursday is about $110,000 higher than what was approved last year and includes the purchase of a tanker for the Fire Department.

The $1.1 million budget proposed by the Selectboard is about 11 percent higher than the current budget and would require $556,000 from taxpayers, about $107,000 more than what was approved last year, according to Town Manager Scott Tilton. It would add about 50 cents to the property tax rate of $17.20 per $1,000 of assessed value, he said.

The Budget Committee recommends raising about $95,000 less from taxpayers, largely as a result of recommending $50,000 less for road maintenance and recommending against buying the fire tanker.

Although the residents will have various budget recommendations to consider at Thursday’s Town Meeting, voters will have fewer candidate choices Tuesday in the town election. Only three people will appear on the ballot for nearly 20 open positions, and all three candidates are running unopposed.

Polls will be open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Chelsea Elementary School for the election.

Residents also will vote on whether to approve Regional School Unit 12’s proposed budget, which would increase what the town must pay by around $40,000, or 2 percent, to $2 million. Voters in the district’s seven towns approved a $20.27 million budget May 19 at the regional budget meeting, but it still is subject to approval in by a referendum vote.


Chelsea’s Town Meeting, at which residents will vote on the town’s budget, is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the school’s gymnasium.

Tilton said the Fire Department tanker is needed because the town’s current tanker is more than 25 years old and has become unreliable. The tanker, which hauls water to fires in Chelsea and mutual-aid communities, is leaking, and the truck hasn’t always started when needed, he said.

The town had an even older tanker truck that it put out of service in 2012.

The town warrant asks residents whether they want to approve borrowing $280,000 to buy a new tanker. The overall debt would be about $313,500, including interest, and would require annual payments of $40,000 for eight years.

The other major difference in the Selectboard and Budget Committee recommendations is the amount to spend for road maintenance in summer, including paving and ditching.

The selectmen recommend spending about $350,000 on roads, an increase of nearly $100,000 from the current budget and nearly $200,000 from the 2011/2012 budget year. The Budget Committee is recommending about $300,000, Tilton said


In prior years, the town used all the money it raised from the vehicle excise tax on road maintenance, but the money spent for road work has declined in recent years, Tilton said. In the proposed budget, the Selectboard recommends using the same amount expected to be raised in excise taxes, $350,000.

“I think it’s now just a realization that we need to start doing more to fix roads,” Tilton said.

In the town election, Selectman Richard Danforth is running unopposed for his seat on the Selectboard. Zachary Freeman is running for one of two open seats on the school board, and Paula Hutton is running for re-election for one of three open seats on the Budget Committee.

Paul Koenig — 621-5663

[email protected]

Twitter: @pdkoenig

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