RANDOLPH — With only a few questions to clarify information, residents in this small Kennebec County town agreed Wednesday to pass a spending plan for the 2018 fiscal year as the Randolph selectmen and Budget Committee had presented it.

The 36 people who showed up at Randolph’s Town Meeting at the Terese C. Hamlin School voted for a budget that is down 1.8 percent and the appropriation is down by 0.7 percent from the last fiscal year. Voters approved $1,677,000; that’s $11,000 less than the appropriation requested a year ago.

Voters chose to ban marijuana-based commercial enterprises in Randolph outright. The statewide referendum on legalizing recreational marijuana, which passed by a narrow margin in November 2016, also paved the way for smoking lounges and retail stores and other businesses. In Randolph, the statewide measure narrowly failed.

Residents also had the option of imposing a temporary ban on pot-based businesses while town officials worked out what regulations ought to be in place; but with the outright ban in place, that article was passed over.

While the lowered amount means taxes will remain flat, it also means no raises for the town staff.

Mark Roberts, chairman of the Board of Selectmen, said town elected officials opted to offer no raises to curb any increases, but raises will be considered again next year, he said.

Among the bigger increases to individual budget items is the increase in the cost of the Gardiner Ambulance Service, which increased by nearly 300 percent, from $8,709 to $21,838, in part because Dresden has withdrawn from the service area.

Voters also agreed to set money aside for anticipated future expenses, such as the revaluation of the town and the next comprehensive plan.

Currently, the town’s property tax rate is $18.44 per $1,000 of assessed valuation.

The updated tax rate will be calculated soon.

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.

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

[email protected]

Twitter: @JLowellKJ


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