Litchfield residents approved paying about $118,000 for a revaluation of the town’s property and about $400,000 for road improvements at the annual Town Meeting on Saturday.

More than 30 residents approved that funding despite a recommendation by selectmen that $100,000 less be raised for the roads.

Despite the spending increase that ultimately passed, property taxes should remain about level next year, according to Mark Russell, chairman of the Select Board. To offset the spending, local officials said they will be able to draw from the town’s surplus funds.

The vote to approve that much funding for road repairs came after about 20 minutes of discussion, in which residents asked about individual roads that are in poor shape and the merits of different repair methods.

Two local committees both recommended raising $400,000 for road repairs next year, the budget and road advisory committees.

A representative from the latter group, Toby Jutras, said priority may be given to fixing Oak Hill Road, which hasn’t been repaired in more than 20 years and which has been badly damaged by frost heaves in recent years, according to a video recording of the Town Meeting posted to the Litchfield website.

“I say appropriate $400,000 to fix the roads,” said one resident who attended the Town Meeting and didn’t identify himself during a public comment period.

The man went on to criticize band-aid fixes to damaged roads and instead urged lasting repairs. “I think crack sealing is a joke,” he said. “They put that stuff down. It’s good for a couple months, then winter comes and the frost comes. … I say fix the roads. I’m sick of fixing my vehicle.”

The meeting came less than a week after the state primary elections, in which Russell was re-elected to a three-year term on the Select Board.

All the articles were approved at the Town Meeting, which ran for about 2.5 hours, but residents made a few minor changes to the spending amounts that had been posted on the warrant.

Attendees approved purchasing a plowing and sanding truck using $194,000 from a highway equipment reserve fund. They added $6,032 to the amount proposed for the transfer station, so that it can be open on Sundays during the summer and fall, in addition to its regular hours on Fridays and Saturdays.

Residents also approved spending about $118,000 to make the first of two payments on a town-wide property revaluation. A second payment of about $70,000 will need to be raised in two years, according to Russell.

That revaluation will update the property values on file with the town and should help residents be eligible to receive the full amount of Maine’s homestead exemption, a program that provides a $20,000 tax exemption to homeowners who have established permanent residency in the state for at least 12 months.

Right now, because the town’s property valuations are out-of-date, residents have not been eligible to receive the full homestead exemption, Russell told residents on Saturday.

The total amount of the spending plan that was approved on Saturday and its impact on local taxes was not immediately available. On Monday, an employee of the town said that staff are trying to determine those amounts and should have them by later this week.

The current tax rate for Litchfield residents is about $16.55 per $1,000 of assessed value, which includes the local taxes that are paid to Regional School Unit 4. The town’s current spending plan is $2.3 million.

Charles Eichacker — 621-5642

[email protected]

Twitter: @ceichacker

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