RANDOLPH — Voters at Wednesday night’s meeting at T.C. Hamlin School approved all but one funding request, signing off on a total budget that’s about 4 percent higher than last year’s budget.

The $2.07 million budget, about $78,000 higher than the budget approved last year, is expected to lead to a small tax increase.

One of the primary reasons for the budget increase was new or requests for repairs and other work to the town’s roughly 10.3-mile-long main sewer system. About a quarter of the system needs to be replaced to reduce the amount of groundwater getting into its sewer pipes, said Mark Roberts, chairman of the Board of Selectmen. When groundwater gets in, the town has to pay to treat the water, and it can lead to sewer overflows, he said.

Art Forand, public works director, showed photos and videos during the meeting of the inside of some of the sewer pipes to demonstrate why the repairs are needed.

The largest new request in the town warrant was to spend $75,000 to replace about 150 feet of sewer pipe on Central Street, which includes older, clay pipes.

During a video through a pipe, Forand pointed out that the clay pipes had clear water dripping in and more buildup of material, including household grease.

“Notice the cracks,” he said. “That’s groundwater that can come into our system.”

Residents also approved doubling the funding for sewer work from $20,000 to $40,000 and spending $11,000 to purchase a new camera system to be able to look into some of the smaller pipes without hiring a contractor.

The effect of the new budget on the property tax rate won’t be known until the town’s new value is assessed, Janet Richards, tax collector, treasurer and deputy town clerk, said before the meeting. Based on the current value, the budget would increase the tax rate of $17.55 per $1,000 of assessed value by close to 50 cents, Richards said.

In the only close vote, residents narrowly approved spending $1,100 to buy the equipment and software to allow the town to accept debit and credit card payments. Residents who use credit or debit cards will pay the transaction fees themselves. Residents at last year’s Town Meeting rejected the same request.

But voters rejected a different technological upgrade, spending $6,800 to update the town’s computer system to allow residents to renew vehicle registrations online through the state’s website.

Paul Koenig — 621-5663

[email protected]

Twitter: @pdkoenig


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