Chelsea residents passed a local spending increase of 13.8 percent and changes to several ordinances Thursday night at Town Meeting, Town Manager Scott Tilton said Friday.

Voters agreed with all the spending decisions recommended by the Board of Selectmen, including a $100,000 boost for road maintenance, more pay for the animal control officer, extended hours for the code enforcement officer and the purchase of three self-contained breathing units for the Fire Department.

Another change will be the establishment of a voluntary recycling program, which was supported by the town’s Solid Waste and Recycling Committee. It’s expected to cost $11,365. The town will have single-sort recycling containers available at the Town Office for residents to use.

Town officials also requested $12,700 to install energy-efficient lights in the Town Office and make safety improvements there.

The spending increases have been offset by several different types of revenue, including $100,000 from the town’s fund balance, Tilton said.

The town spending plan approved by voters will increase the property tax rate by 18 cents per $1,000 of assessed property valuation. Combined with the school and county budgets, the total property tax rate is increasing by $1.40 next year, to $19.50 per $1,000 of property, Tilton said. That means the owner of a $100,000 home will have to pay $1,950.

At Town Meeting, residents also agreed to several changes of the town’s ordinances.

The Animal Control Ordinance currently has provisions in it to deal with complaints about barking dogs, but that rule has been expanded, so that any domestic animal that makes a sound for a period of time could result in a violation. Another change will set lot-size restrictions for keeping domestic livestock.

Voters also approved updating the town’s Shoreland Zoning Ordinance to state standards established in 2006.

The meeting was held at Chelsea Elementary School. Because officials hope to build a new town office in the next couple of years, architecture students from the University of Maine at Augusta attended the meeting and discussed conceptual designs for a new building.

The current Town Office was built in the 1960s and is too small to hold voting or community functions, which is why voting and Town Meeting now are held in the elementary school, Tilton said.

“It looks like something, probably in the next couple years, will happen to get moving on the Town Office,” Tilton said. “We want people to start thinking about it.”

Charles Eichacker — 621-5642

[email protected]

Twitter: @ceichacker


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