RANDOLPH — When voters gather to decide their town’s budget Wednesday, they will consider a spending plan that’s a little more than 5% higher than the current year’s budget.

In all, town officials are proposed to spend $2,242,180 in the next budget year, about $107,000 more than was approved at last year’s Town Meeting.

Even with the increase, the town’s property tax rate — currently $18.40 per $1,000 of assessed valuation — is not expected to change much, according to Janet Richards, Randolph’s treasurer and tax collector.

The calculations on the property tax rate are not yet complete because the town’s valuation is not yet complete. But for a property owner whose house is assessed at $130,000, the annual property tax bill would be nearly $2,392 at the current rate.

Town Meeting will take place at 7 p.m., in the gym of the former Randolph school on School Street.

Some of the increases reflect routine increases in salaries and expenses and items out of the town’s control, like the $4,400 increase from the Gardiner Water District for hydrants and the $2,420 increase in emergency dispatch services from the central Maine Regional Communications Center for the added cost imposed for the service.

More than a third of the additional spending includes $40,000 to replace the town’s 112 streetlights with energy-efficient LED fixtures. The town currently pays $19,000 annually to Central Maine Power, but once the upgrades are in place, that is expected to decrease by about 90%. The payback period on the purchase is expected to be about three years.

This photo, taken on Thursday, shows cracks in Belmont Avenue in Randolph. Kennebec Journal photo by Joe Phelan

“Our service and delivery now is at $19,000, and after the conversion it would be about $2,500,” Selectman Matthew Drost said.

Some costs, such as the $17,770 fee for town residents to be able to use Augusta’s Hatch Hill landfill and the $64,500 cost of winter plowing and sanding, are expected to remain flat in the new budget. And some budget entries, such as the Gardiner Ambulance Service at $27,407 and the Public Works Department at $72,500, have decreased.

Town officials are also seeking authorization to spend $50,000 for resurfacing streets, doubling what was allocated a year ago.

To pay for that spending, Randolph will use $150,000 of state revenue sharing, and tap the town’s general fund for about $482,000. The balance, $1.61 million, will be raised through property tax.

In addition to the spending proposed in the budget, the selectmen are also seeking authorization to borrow up to $1 million in a bond issue to fix roads in Randolph, including both Fairview Avenue and Belmont Avenue, based on condition and traffic, as well as Clark Street.

Mark Roberts, chairman of the Board of Selectman, said the town might not need the entire sum, and the debt can be paid back early without penalty; the maximum period of the bond is 20 years.

“We also considered Birmingham and Barber roads,” Drost said.

At Tuesday’s public hearing on the bond issue, Drost said Birmingham is such a significant roadway, it would take up most of the anticipated borrowing. Instead, he said, the town has plans to rehabilitate it — rather than rebuild — because the road base is still in good condition.

How far the money would go depends on how much fixing the worst roads ends up costing, he said.

Voters will have the option to decide whether, beginning with this year’s annual election, that votes for write-in candidates will be counted only if that candidate has filed a “timely declaration” of write-in candidacy with the town clerk.

Voters also will be asked to weigh in on two ordinances, a fire department service restitution ordinance and a local food and community self-governance ordinance.

Under the restitution ordinance, the town would have the ability to bill insurance companies for the costs incurred by the fire department associated with accidents or rescues involving non-residents. If voters agree, the change would go into effect immediately.

The food sovereignty ordinance would allow Randolph residents to buy, sell, produce, process and consume food products grown or made in Randolph — excluding meat and poultry — without state licensing or inspection. If approved, this ordinance would go into effect immediately.


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