As the fiscal year comes to a close, several things remain to be settled be for Litchfield taxpayers.

At Town Meeting on Saturday — 10 a.m. at the Litchfield Sportsmen’s Club — they will consider a $2.18 million municipal budget proposed by the selectmen, which is 3.2 percent lower than this year’s budget.

And after the state primary election on Tuesday, there are two other open questions for Litchfield taxpayers: how much they will pay in education costs to Regional School Unit 4, and who will represent them next year on the three-person Select Board.

Self-employed property manager Timothy LaChapelle won election to the Select Board on Tuesday, defeating incumbent Selectwoman Rayna Leibowitz by just 12 votes. LaChapelle received 195 votes, Leibowitz received 183 and a third candidate, Kenneth Lizotte, received 131, according to results posted Tuesday.

But Leibowitz, a retired civil servant who has served two consecutive terms on the Select Board, has asked for a recount. The recount will take place at 1 p.m. Monday, according to Town Manager Trudy Lamoreau.

Less clear-cut is the school budget question. On Tuesday, Litchfield voters rejected the $18.9 million budget proposed by the board of Regional School Unit 4, the school district that also includes Wales and Sabattus. The district board now is considering where the proposed budget, which was 1.84 percent higher than this year’s, can be cut.

One of the reasons for the proposed increase was a $422,014 reduction in the amount of state aid to the district for the 2017 school year. The budget proposal also included a $341,711 increase for, among other things, a bus, textbooks, technology investments and a new dean of students position that was meant to address an increase in students’ problematic behavior.

It was the specter of greater education costs that led selectmen to propose a relatively lean spending plan for 2016-2017, Lamoreau said. The municipal budget heading to voters on Saturday is $74,462 lower than this year’s.

“We tried to keep it as tight as we could because of the school budget,” Lamoreau said. “There are not really any major surprises in the budget, or any major surprise articles this year. It should be fairly, I believe, straightforward.”

The selectmen found savings in the amount spent on emergency dispatchers, ambulance service and public works, according to Lamoreau.

One reason for those savings was that another town has started using the Gardiner Ambulance Service, lowering the cost for all member towns such as Litchfield. Lower gas prices, better maintenance of equipment and the employment of a public works employee who has multiple skill sets also has led to cuts, Lamoreau added.

Charles Eichacker — 621-5642

[email protected]

Twitter: @ceichacker


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