WHITEFIELD — Voters will consider a proposed $1.4 million expenditure budget, which includes funding for more solar panels in town.

The annual town meeting is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 21, at Whitefield Elementary School.

Voting is set for 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on March 20 at Whitefield Central Fire Station. Voters will choose a moderator for the open town meeting and select candidates in a number of unopposed races.

The town’s draft expenditure budget is $1,407,422, a $34,085, or 2.48%, increase from last year’s expenditures of $1,373,337.

Selectman Lester Sheaffer said the largest part of the increase is the town’s plowing contract, which recently changed to include a salt brine. Salt costs could increase by $17,425, or 77.2%, from $22,575 to $40,000. The plowing contract may increase $22,489, or 10.2%, from $219,500 to $241,989.

Sand costs remain the same as last at $37,000, but the salt brine may lead to reduced sand costs in the future.

Capital projects only increased by $241, as $25,000 was taken out of a line for replacing a culvert on Senott Road because the town received a $75,000 grant for the project.

The capital projects line also includes $16,000 in funding for solar panels on the Kings Mills Fire Station, $1,300 in funding for street lights at some intersections, $2,355 for software upgrades to accept online tax payments and $8,000 for an electronic sign at the Whitefield Elementary School that will be purchased using matching funds from RSU 12.

Voters could opt for a different solar approach than panels on the Kings Mills Station by becoming a part of an agreement to assist Regional School Unit 12 in building a solar farm.

Selectwoman Lise Hanners said the town will issue a recommendation on which of the two articles should pass, as both may not be necessary.

“There’s been quite a bit of discussion about what the best plan would be for putting up more solar panels so we can cover more of the town’s electric use,” she said. “We have some solar panels now, but our electric use has increased over time.”

The town roads line saw a 5.49% decrease, from $432,381 to $408,630. Culvert funding decreased by $17,100 and paving funding decreased by $9,151.

Administrative costs have decreased, by 3.45% this year. Sheaffer said some of the savings was the result of a longer-tenured employee leaving and a replacement being hired at a lower pay rate with fewer benefits.

A new maintenance position and more security monitoring increased facilities maintenance spending up $7,206, or 23.97%. Animal control officer costs rose 50%, from $5,000 to $7,500.

According to the proposed budget, town revenue is expected to increase by $22,696, or 4.65%, from the current fiscal year. That overall bump does not include state payments to the town but does factor in an anticipated $15,000 increases in excise taxes, along with other small increases.

Town elections

Charlene Donahue and Bill McKeen are running unopposed for their seats on the Select Board.

Kristin Mason is running unopposed for a seat on the Planning Board, while another available position will have to be filled by a write-in candidate.

David Boynton is running unopposed for road commissioner.

No candidates has registered for a one-year term on the school board.


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