About 50 people breezed through the Benton annual Town Meeting in about three hours Saturday, approving all the articles on the 90-article town meeting warrant, including agreeing to sell surplus alewives, Selectman Douglas Dixon said Monday.

Dixon, who was re-elected to the Board of Selectmen for a three-year term, said the new budget approved by voters comes in at about $679,600, up slightly from the $600,000 approved at last year’s meeting. Dixon said that Road Commissioner Todd Littlefield also was re-elected for a one-year term. Both candidates were unopposed on the ballot.

The tax rate in Benton currently stands at $14.40 for every $1,000 in property valuation. Dixon said the final tax rate will not be known until the school budget is done and the county tax is assessed.

He said residents agreed to take $200,000 from surplus to offset taxes.

On the question of alewives, residents on Saturday agreed to sell surplus river herring. Benton voters also agreed to endorse the annual Alewife Festival and to authorize the town treasurer to accept donations for the festival and to take $1,800 from the tax increment financing district to be used for the event.

The festival, which celebrated its sixth year of operation last May, recognizes the small herring’s annual spring run from the Gulf of Maine to spawn in inland lakes. Benton has the largest run in the state and one of the largest on the East Coast, estimated at nearly 3 million fish annually.

Voters also agreed to spend $500 from Tax Increment Financing revenue to support fish restoration in Outlet Stream, recognizing that “a million more spawning alewives in the Sebasticook River may enhance our income in future years.”

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

Twitter:@Doug_Harlow

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