WASHINGTON — Residents of Washington are expected to set the town budget and consider options for bringing access to high-speed to the entire community at the annual Town Meeting on Saturday.

Voters at the meeting will be asked to decide on spending proposals from a proposed town budget that officials said is about the same as the $1.2 million spending plan approved last year.

“The bottom line is we expect our overall budget to stay flat. The money is pretty equal to what it was last year,” Selectman Tom Johnston said of the spending proposals on which residents are to vote.

The traditional, in-person meeting is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Saturday at Prescott Memorial School at 100 Waldoboro Road.

The meeting will be preceded by town elections Friday, with polls scheduled to be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Gibbs Library, 40 Old Union Road.

Berkley Linscott is the only candidate on the ballot in Friday’s elections, seeking to retain his seat as a selectman, while an open three-year spot on the school board has no candidates on the ballot and will be filled by write in.


Johnston said the officials believe the meeting can be held safely and in compliance with the state’s restrictions on the size of public gatherings due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He said the school’s gymnasium is set up for social distancing, and attendees should wear protective masks.

Budget-related proposals going to voters include two proposals to take money from the town’s undesignated fund balance, or surplus account made up largely of funds unspent in previous years, for road repairs. One would spend $40,000 from surplus for paving, and the other would use another $40,000 from that account to pay the cost of crushing tailings — rocks and other debris left over from making road sand — into surface gravel for the town crew to use on road projects.

Johnston said last year, when town meeting was delayed by nearly four months due to the coronavirus pandemic, paving work for which funding was approved did not occur because it got to be too late in the construction season. In response, selectmen moved money meant for paving last year into the surplus account, some of which is proposed to be taken back out and put toward paving work this year.

The town’s property tax rate is now $16.30 per $1,000 of assessed value, according to Mary Anderson, who serves as town clerk, treasurer and tax collector.

In addition to considering funding requests in the town budget, residents will also be asked if they want the town to investigate providing access to high-speed internet for all of Washington.

Johnston said high-speed internet access has been lacking in the town, and a committee has been studying potential ways to improve it.

The warrant article notes the purpose would be to demonstrate to potential internet service providers, lenders and grant sources that residents support improving Washington’s internet service.

It could allow the town to partner with an internet provider and apply for a community planning grant through ConnectMaine Authority to explore options to improve the speed of local internet service.

The article, officials noted, would not commit the town to a specific internet provider or to taking on debt.

Related Headlines

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. 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.