Wayne voters approved a municipal spending plan that’s down 5 percent Wednesday night at Town Meeting, but they reduced the amount of money that selectmen will be able to borrow next year because they’re concerned about overall increases in the property tax rate stemming from school costs, Town Manager Aaron Chrostowsky said.

While the town managed to reduce its spending plan for next year — in part because of a new transfer station agreement with Readfield and Fayette that’s saving taxpayers $31,000 — the cost of sending students to the Maranacook area schools is rising.

On Tuesday, voters in Wayne, Readfield, Manchester and Mount Vernon approved a $17.2 million school budget for Regional School Unit 38, which is $725,000 higher than this year’s. Wayne is expected to pay $2.2 million of it, which is the smallest portion owed by the four district towns.

On Wednesday at Town Meeting, voters agreed to raise about $1.1 million for municipal expenses next year, down about $58,000 from this year.

Under both the town and the school plans, Wayne’s tax rate is projected to increase from $14.83 per $1,000 of property valuation to $16.27 per $1,000. That means someone with a $100,000 home would pay $1,627 in property taxes next year.

Town officials have tried to limit spending because of the school budget increase, and with two exceptions, voters agreed with their recommendations Wednesday night, Chrostowsky said.

Besides the savings the town is realizing in the new transfer station agreement, the selectmen also decided to withhold a $15,000 payment the town normally deposits into an account for a new office space. Town business now is conducted in a classroom in Wayne Elementary School.

One increase in the town budget that couldn’t be avoided is the repayment for debt that funded road repairs. Those debt repayments are jumping from $167,580 this year to $216,812.

At Town Meeting, the selectmen asked voters to allow them to borrow up to $300,000 next year for road repairs, but because some voters were concerned about the tax rate increase, they reduced the allowable borrowing to $175,000, Chrostowsky said.

Voters also agreed to provide an additional $500 to the 30 Mile River Watershed Association, on top of the $4,500 the selectmen already proposed giving that group, Chrostowksy said.

Of the $3.48 million that residents will be asked to pay next year, about 32 percent is for town costs and 63 percent is for schools. The remainder will cover the Kennebec County tax, the Cobbosee Watershed District’s fees and a small amount that’s set aside every year for tax assessment purposes.

At Town Meeting, residents also passed a new ordinance that clearly defines the responsibilities of the town’s Budget Committee.

A day earlier, voters re-elected Gary Kenny and Donald Walsh to three-year terms on the Select Board. Kenny and Walsh had no challengers for those positions. Voters also elected Mitch Levesque to a five-year term on the Budget Committee.

There were no registered candidates for a three-year term on the Regional School Unit 38 board of directors and a pair of three-year terms on the local school committee, and there was no clear write-in candidate for either position, Town Clerk Cathy Cook said.

Charles Eichacker — 621-5642

[email protected]

Twitter: @ceichacker

 


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