STRONG — Town officials have finished their review of the 2016 proposed budget and are set to compile their recommendations into a town warrant to be voted on March 5 at Town Meeting.

Selectmen have been reviewing the proposed budget for three months, making their final recommendations at their Jan. 26 meeting. The Budget Committee made its final recommendations Monday night, and the warrant is ready to be signed by selectmen.

This year’s proposed budget totals $572,543, a figure accepted by both the Budget Committee and the selectmen. Last year’s budget totaled $624,884, which was 9 percent higher than the 2016 proposal. The majority of the $52,341 decrease is a result of how the town proposes to fund the paving account.

Selectman Mike Pond suggested a different way to fund the account. If voters accept Pond’s recommendation, which was accepted by selectmen and the Budget Committee, the paving account would use $60,000 in surplus funds — nondesignated money that the town already has raised. The town also would accept $18,448 from a state-funded account for road maintenance.

Both the selectmen and the Budget Committee recommended adding $1,000 to the budget for maintenance to the town’s four “Welcome to Strong” signs. It was not clear how much each sign would cost to upgrade, but if the $1,000 does not cover all four, Budget Committee members said that the sign on Route 4 coming into town from Farmington would be given priority.

Necessary maintenance to the Forster Memorial Building also is recommended in the 2016 budget. Pond said elevator maintenance needs to be a priority in the $18,000 set aside for the building in the 2016 budget.

The budget will be brought before Strong residents for voting at the annual Town Meeting at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, March 5. On March 4, elections will be held from 1 to 6 p.m. for several town positions, including two selectmen, a fire chief and school board directors.

Running uncontested and seeking re-election are school board directors Loretta Deming and Jessie Stinchfield, Fire Chief Duayane Boyd and Pond. Resident Rob Elliott is running uncontested for the seat vacated by Selectman Milt Baston.

Lauren Abbate — 861-9252

[email protected]

Twitter: @Lauren_M_Abbate

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