RANDOLPH — When voters head to Randolph’s Town Meeting next Wednesday, they’ll be asked to consider a municipal spending plan for fiscal year 2018 that’s down slightly from what they approved for fiscal year 2017.

The town budget as a whole is down 1.8 percent, and the appropriation is down by 0.7 percent as proposed.

Currently, the town’s mill rate is $18.44 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. Mark Roberts, chairman of the Randolph Board of Selectmen, said it’s too soon to know what the mill rate will be.

If the articles in the warrant are approved as written, selectmen are seeking $1,677,000. That’s down from last year’s requested appropriation of $1,688,000.

The priorities for town spending is taking care of the town’s infrastructure — the streets, the sewer system and the equipment that supports that work.

“We’re bridging between attempting to catch up and keep up on a couple of smaller projects,” Selectman Matthew Drost said. “But we’re in a better position than we were two years ago to get ahead.”

“Closson Street is our big project this year,” Mark Roberts, chairman of the Board of Selectman said.

The municipal budget is just one part of the tax bill that residents receive. The other portions are assessments for School Administrative District 11, the Gardiner-area schools; and for Kennebec County. The school district’s assessment at $994,994, has increased $16,000 from last year, and the county assessment, at $85,860, is up slightly from last year.

While many line items in the town’s budget are unchanged from the current year’s budget, several increases have been included in the town’s proposed spending plan. They include rising health insurance costs for town employees, and the cost for ambulance service provided by Gardiner Ambulance, which has increased from $8,709 to $21,838 in part because Dresden has withdrawn from the service area.

“We’re pretty concerned about the taxes that people are paying, with things going up,” Drost said.

Roberts said to balance out increases, spending on some projects were cut.

This year, town officials are asking for $30,000 to be used with the balance of last year’s $10,000 approved request to do significant repairs for manholes and pipes in Randolph and fix sections of the system where water infiltrates.

Town officials are looking ahead and planning on how to pay for future projects. Specifically they are asking voters for authorization to set aside $1,000 for the comprehensive plan update, $20,000 into a dedicated account for the expected town-wide property valuation, and $5,000 for future fire truck replacement.

Like the overwhelming majority of municipalities in Kennebec County, Randolph did not favor legalizing recreational marijuana when the statewide ballot question narrowly passed in November 2016. Residents voted 471-512.

Now they are being asked to consider two pot-related issues.

One is an outright ban on the commercial marijuana-related enterprises that the state law allows. If that one fails, voters will be asked to vote on a temporary ban allowing such enterprises to give town officials time to work out how they ought to be regulated.

Randolph’s Town Meeting is scheduled to take place at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Teresa C. Hamlin School on School Street.

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

[email protected]

Twitter: @JLowellKJ

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