Voters will decide whether the town can spend almost $30,000 on renovations to the town office and fire station during Whitefield’s Town Meeting Saturday.

Overall, the budget for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins July 1, increased by $56,001 compared to last year. The proposed budget calls for $1,098,361 in municipal spending, a 5.4 percent change over last year.

Select board chairman Dennis Merrill, who did not take out papers seeking re-election, said the town has enough money in surplus to offset any increase in spending. The warrant shows $300,000 in unassigned surplus.

“There will be more surplus available this year to help lower taxes, and there’s more excise tax, too,” Merrill said via email. The mill rate is set around Augusta, Merrill said, when the school budget, revenue sharing and other factors are known. Whitefield residents currently pay $15 in annual property tax per $1,000 of valuation.

The town received an additional $30,000 in excise tax and $56,000 in miscellaneous revenue, Merrill said.

According to the warrant, the Select Board and Budget Committee recommend spending $83,830 for general government spending, including building maintenance, utilities, code enforcement and supplies. That is $14,311 more than last year.

Voters in the town of more than 2,300 will decide whether to raise and appropriate $6,617 for organizations including the American Red Cross, Spectrum Generations and Kennebec Behavioral Health.

Voters last year had two big topics to consider at the Town Meeting: the removal of the Coopers Mill dam and whether to install solar panels on the fire station that would provide electricity for town buildings. Both warrant articles were approved by a majority.

The Coopers Mill dam removal was solely funded by the Atlantic Salmon Federation and Midcoast Conservancy.

Other notable items in the budget include an increase of $7,000 for town roads, $5,341 more for salaries and benefits for town officials and $3,500 more for plowing and sanding.

Charlene Donahue, Bruce Mathews and Bill McKeen took out papers for two spots on the Select Board replacing Merrill and Sue McKeen.

Selectman Tony Marple said in the town’s newsletter that Sue McKeen’s close connections with the community and long record of volunteerism are exemplary. He said Merrill has been an administrative workhorse for the town during his tenure, while often serving as a town handyman as well.

Balloting takes place 4-8 p.m. Friday at the fire station. The Town Meeting is 10 a.m. Saturday at Whitefield Elementary School.

Jason Pafundi — 621-5663

[email protected]

Twitter: @jasonpafundiKJ

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