Fayette voters will consider both the school and town budgets when they gather at 9 a.m. Saturday at Fayette Central School for the business portion of the annual Town Meeting.

The warrant articles show that the three bodies preparing the proposed budgets — selectmen, School Committee members and Budget Committee members — disagree over the dollar amounts they recommend for some of the school spending articles, which will be dealt with first at the meeting.

For the overall school budget, the school committee recommends spending almost $1.9 million for the 2017-2018 school year. Selectmen recommend spending some $32,000 less, while the Budget Committee would spend about $35,000 less.

The School Committee recommends taking $60,000 from the undesignated fund balance to support the spending plan while the selectmen and the Budget Committee recommend taking $100,000.

“What they want us to do is take more money out of the reserve fund,” said School Committee Chairman Elaine Wilcox. “We feel we have reason to support what we’re going to propose. We know we’re going to need a bus in a few years, so we don’t want to drain the reserves and you never know what else is going to come up either. We’re going to defend our budget with explanations. We just did the best we could.”

The School Committee recommends spending almost $1.118 million on regular instruction for all grades while the budget committee and selectmen recommend spending $3,000 less. All three boards agree that almost $204,000 should be spent on special education.

Wilcox also noted that the middle school budget varies, depending on which school system the middle schoolers from Fayette choose to attend.

Students in Fayette have choices of schools to attend for middle school and high school.

In all, Fayette has about 150 students in school, with pre-kindergarten through grades 5 attending Fayette Central School and the higher grades attending schools in neighboring towns.

Last year, just over 42 voters attended the annual Town Meeting and approved spending slightly less than $1.8 million on schools, and about $980,000 on the town government.

This year, the municipal spending proposal is up $189,639 over the current year, with some $100,000 to be spent for cold mix asphalt.

Town Manager Mark Robinson said the material would be used “for shimming, filling in potholes, wheel ruts and road repairs as a maintenance band-aid as we pay the big bond payment for all the paving we had done last year.”

The town has also proposed $6,000 for mapping services and additional money to pay for recent computerization so residents can pay their taxes and boat and car registrations online.

Some $5,000 is proposed for a new repeater for public safety services, however, Robinson said that might be offset by other funds.

Robinson also said that while the town office staff has been reduced in number, the health insurance plan is being accessed by an additional town employee. Four municipal employees access health insurance benefits.

Robinson said if selectmen’s numbers are approved, they will then ask residents for permission to take money from the town’s surplus to keep the tax rate increase to no more than $1 for $1,000 worth of valuation rather than the $2 increase that would be required to support the town and school budget.

Fayette property owners currently pay $15.50 for each $1,000 worth of property.

“This will minimize the burden,” Robinson said, adding, “We don’t know what our total education subsidy will be. The Budget Committee and selectmen and the School Committee have worked very hard to produce a budget that meets the needs of the town,” Robinson said.

Fayette voters also will weigh in on several proposed ordinances as well.

One would prohibit commercial and retail marijuana businesses as well as social clubs from locating in Fayette.

However, Robinson said it has “no negative impact on registered medical caregivers and no impact on what people are legally permitted to do today.”

Another ordinance also turns over shoreland zone timber harvesting to the state.

Both those ordinance proposals are recommended by selectmen.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams


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