FARMINGTON — Voters on Tuesday narrowly approved Regional School Unit 9’s $32.04 million budget for the upcoming year after previously having turned down a district funding package in June.

The unofficial tally was 999 voting yes and 892 voting no.

The votes by town were:

• Chesterville: yes, 29; no, 96

• Farmington: yes, 472; no, 233

• Industry: yes, 51; no, 45

• New Sharon: yes, 72; no, 196

• New Vineyard: yes, 19; no, 70

• Starks: yes, 47; no, 8

• Temple: yes, 54; no, 57

• Vienna: yes, 28; no, 17

• Weld: yes, 19; no, 6

• Wilton: yes, 208; no, 164

The budget is a 3.2 percent increase from last year’s $31.04 million budget. Last week, residents approved the proposed budget during a special meeting raising no objections to the proposal.

The RSU 9 board of directors developed the budget after residents rejected a $32.25 million funding package in June, cutting more than $200,000 before bringing the second proposal to voters.

Superintendent Tom Ward said the cuts didn’t affect programs directly related to students.

In addition to the more than $200,000, money from the state general purpose aid to education will reduce the district’s tax rate from $8.48 for every $1,000 in assessed property valuation to $8.23, according to Ward, and will create $301,405 in extra savings.

Voters at the polls Tuesday offered varying takes on the new budget proposal.

“I thought it was very reasonable,” said Elizabeth Smith, adding that the district is trying to serve a lot of individuals with varying needs. “I’m definitely in favor of educating our kids.”

Nicole Ball said she supported the budget because it’s important to the future of her children and all the students in the district. Ball said she too pays taxes, but it all goes toward giving the younger generation the education they need to survive in the future.

“In my eyes, it’s worth it,” Ball said.

But not all voters favored the district’s budget.

“I think for this area, it’s hard for people to keep paying high taxes,” said Linda Collins, and she said it’s a burden for people in Farmington.

Mike Collins said it’s tough for people to afford the high taxes. He said for someone to make a decent wage, it takes $15 per hour, and that’s not what most people make in the area.

Linda Collins said she believes in having a good education system but spending needs to come down.

Based on the budget, the increase for the 10 towns is $72,437 for Chesterville, $316,305 for Farmington, $61,775 for Industry, $73,896 for New Sharon, $63,004 for New Vineyard, $29,163 for Starks, $30,903 for Temple, $60,833 for Vienna, $189,350 for Wilton and $43,217 for Weld.

Staff writer Doug Harlow contributed to this report.


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