RICHMOND — Town officials want to pave some roads, make efficiency investments in the Myrtle Street fire station and maintain the Police Department staffing level with a proposed budget that goes before town taxpayers next month.

Richmond’s warrant, which town officials have included in the current Mainely Richmond newsletter, shows a budget proposal that comes in at $2.14 million, nearly $12,000 less than the budget approved for the current budget year.

“We have done really well coming back with a (municipal) budget that’s less than last year,” said Peter Warner, chairman of the Board of Selectmen. “And we’re continuing to provide all the services we have been providing.”

Richmond’s tax rate is $18.70 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. While the town’s share of the proposed budget has decreased, the tax rate cannot be recalculated until the Regional School Unit 2 budget is approved.

The proposed town budget does not include nonproperty tax revenue or expected appropriations from reserve accounts for the library or police staffing.

When the selectmen acted last year to retire a substantial amount of debt, they were able to apply some money toward tax reduction, and they have been able to develop a capital improvement plan that will allow them to take care of town buildings and plan for vehicle purchases and take on some road maintenance.


“We’re saving for a rainy day,” Warner said. “We’re fortunate we’re in a position where we can do that.”

In the last couple years, the town has taken a zero-based budgeting approach. That means Janet Smith, the town manager, builds the annual budget from scratch each year, rather than adjusting what was in the budget the previous year.

“Janet has a strong background in municipal finance, and that’s why we hired her,” Warner said. “It’s paid off.”

The warrant includes a couple of new items.

In addition to articles to fund the Fire Department, taxpayers are being asked to support $60,000 in repairs for the Myrtle Street fire station. Smith said that fund will pay for insulating the building and replacing the windows, which will save the town money in the long run.

The Police Department budget request is $265,530, up from last year’s request of $214,649, but not all of that would have to be raised from taxes. Smith said Richmond had secured funding to hire an additional officer through the federal COPS FAST program, designed to pay the salary and benefits for officers hired for community policing for five years The grant is for four years; after that, the municipality is responsible for paying the officer. Smith said Richmond has been setting aside funds in the COPS FAST reserve fund, totaling $56,000 to draw on to meet the salary need now that the grant has run its course. Going forward, the town is expected to review police staffing and scheduling.


Richmond residents also have a slate of candidates to consider.

Ryan Chandler, Karyn Hixson and Ryan Shea are running for the single open seat on the Board of Selectmen; the term of office is three years.

Warner, who has served on the board for more than four years, has opted not to run again. He said family obligations require his time and attention. While he’s not giving up all of his public involvement, he has to scale it back to have time to help care for his mother. He doesn’t rule out a future run for office.

Three seats are open on the Budget Committee, but only two candidates turned in nomination papers. Veronica Belanger and Mary Alioto are running for the three-year terms. The only option to fill the third seat is by write-in vote.

One seat is open on the Richmond Utilities District, and Jason Prout is seeking election to the three-year term.

Laurie Umberhind is running for the seat on the Regional School Unit 2 board, representing Richmond.


A public preview of the budget and proposed ordinance changes is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 18, at Marcia Buker School, at 28 High St.

Richmond’s comprehensive plan also is included in the town warrant. A public hearing on the plan will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 24, at Marcia Buker School.

Town Meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 7, at Richmond High School, at 132 Main St., where voters will be asked to vote on 48 warrant articles. The meeting will be recessed and will resume Tuesday, June 14, when voters will be asked to vote by secret ballot for candidates to fill vacancies on elected boards, and to decide whether to adopt the comprehensive plan. That portion of Town Meeting coincides with Maine’s primary election. Polls will be open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the high school.

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

[email protected]

Twitter: @JLowellKJ

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