UNITY — Voters at Town Meeting on Saturday will be looking at a proposed decrease in municipal spending, a couple of proposed ordinances and a straw poll about recreational marijuana.

Voting on the town election ballot is scheduled for noon until 8 p.m. Friday at the Unity Town Office. There are no contested races. Penny Picard-Sampson is seeking a return to the Board of Selectmen for a three-year term, and Najean Shedyak is on the ballot for a three-year term on the school board.

Town Meeting is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. Saturday in the Unity Elementary School gymnasium.

Selectwoman Emily Newell said last year’s municipal budget was $794,756, and if all of the articles are approved as written on Saturday, the coming year’s spending will decrease to $730,389.

The tax rate going into Town Meeting is $16.85 for every $1,000 in property valuation, but the final figure will not be known until the school budget is finalized and the county tax is calculated.

Items of local interest Saturday include a proposal to pre-pay some of the Town Office loan with revenue from selling the old Town Office, Newell said. Voters also will be asked whether to continue putting $20,000 toward the firetruck fund or to reduce that to $10,000 this year.

There is also a proposal to enact an ordinance restricting vehicle weights on posted roads and updating the cemetery ordinance.

A straw poll will be taken on whether to ban recreational marijuana facilities. The poll will be a guide for the possible creation of a future ordinance, Newell said.

Residents were divided on the marijuana issue during a meeting earlier this month. The moderator, Don Newell, took a straw poll at the end of the meeting to see who would support banning each type of establishment. The majority of people — 40 out of 48 — would vote to ban social clubs, while only 23 would ban retail stores. For cultivation, manufacturing and testing facilities, 17, 18 and 16 people, respectively, said they would vote to ban them, while the majority did not want to ban them.

Those who support the ban say recreational marijuana doesn’t have a place in Unity, while others said it’s a senseless ban on potential businesses and tax revenue.

Spending proposals to be voted on from the Town Meeting floor include $480,000 for summer roads, $215,000 for winter roads and $84,360 for the second road loan. Other spending articles ask voters to appropriate $80,000 for rubbish tipping fees, and $39,505 for solid waste pickup in the coming year.

Unity voters also will be asked to come up with $40,115 for the firehouse loan payment and $70,000 for the salaries of town officials.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]


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