WHITEFIELD — Residents at next week’s Town Meeting in Whitefield will decide on a proposed municipal spending plan that officials said is intended to reduce the burden on taxpayers.

Voting for the moderator and other elected positions is scheduled for 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Whitefield Central Fire Station, 26 Town House Road.

The open Town Meeting is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday, July 18, at Whitefield Elementary School, 164 Grand Army Road.

The warrant for the meeting includes as much as $1,117,412 in municipal spending, a 10.8% decrease from the $1,252,718 voters approved in March 2019.

A letters already distributed to residents shows town expenditures were set at $1,407,423 in a previous draft of the 2020-21 budget.

In May, the Select Board picked the date for the Town Meeting, despite concerns that gatherings of more than 50 people could be prohibited by executive order from Gov. Janet Mills.

Town officials said they felt it was more important to allow residents to vote rather than turn people away to meet the 50-person limit.

The largest cut proposed for 2020-21 is to the roads budget, which is separate from the winter roads budget. The Select Board and Budget Committee are recommending $151,398 in funding, a marked decrease from $432,381 in the previous fiscal year.

Charlene Donahue, a member of the Select Board, said the cut pushes to next year projects that are part of a 10-year road plan.

Donahue said town officials surveyed a road that was due to be paved and determined the project could wait a year, significantly reducing the cost to taxpayers at a time when the school and county budgets could be increasing.

“Next year, we’ll do that road,” Donahue said, “and then we’ll (move the next road to) the next year. We won’t double up next year.

“We figured the school budget would be going up some, where could we help out taxpayers to reduce their tax payments for a year.”

The Select Board and Budget Committee have also recommended cutting a budget line that contained $50,000 last year to repair a culvert on Senott Road.

Donahue said that project was included in the warrant before the town received a grant. She said the town will be able to fund that project, being done this summer, with money the town has on hand.

The letter distributed to residents seeks to explain some changes, according to town officials. In the letter, officials explained their recommendation to defer for a year the installation of a fire alarm at Kings Mills Station. This would save taxpayers $10,186 in the coming fiscal year.

Despite the large decrease in town roads, some proposed expenditures are up from current spending.

A 14.27% increase, for example, is proposed for winter road maintenance. If approved, the budget would jump from $279,517 to $319,414.

Donahue said the increase is driven by the town’s plan to put brine on roads before winter storms, rather than salting and sanding after the storm.

“Some things you can’t change,” she said of the increasing costs of salt and sand. “We’ve been getting complaints about the road, so we decided to try putting brine down before storms to see if that would help with the condition of the roads.”

Town officials said they expect $469,115 in municipal revenue for 2020-21, compared with $439,569 last year. The increase is related to a variety of small increases, and an anticipated $5,500 increase in agent fees from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

In town elections, Donahue and William McKeen, also an incumbent, are running unopposed for three-year terms on the Select Board.

No one has submitted papers for a position on the Regional School Unit 12 board of directors, but interim Town Clerk Tina Laskey said Suzanne Balbo is expected to run as a write-in candidate.

Related Headlines


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.