WHITEFIELD — Residents will gather Saturday at Whitefield Elementary School at 10 a.m. to vote on 44 warrant articles that make up the town’s $1,515,722 proposed town budget.

Though the budget is proposed at $1.5 million, after expecting $456,600 in revenues sources, the amount to be raised by taxes for next year is $1,034,122. That’s a nearly 69% increase from last year’s $610,296, the amount to be raised after revenue sources.

The town is expecting more revenue this year for a total of $456,600 plus $25,000 from an undesignated fund. The town received $465,115 in revenues last year.

The tax rate will “most likely” rise, according to Town Clerk Yolanda Violette said, though she is not sure by how much.

“I haven’t spoken with the assessor to see where we stand in changes to see if it increased or decreased, but for the total amount of $1 million for taxes and compare it to last year’s taxes where it was only $600,000,” she said. “They eliminated a few articles last year to reduce taxes so we didn’t increase with COVID, but I can’t say how much (the tax rate could increase) in the overall assessment.”

The current tax rate is $15.86 per $1,000 of assessed property value.

A large reason for the increase in the budget is for projects the town decided to forgo in last year’s budget because of the coronavirus and were added onto the budget for next year. Violette said specifically articles 29, 30 and 31, which regard installing security software in town buildings, putting in street lighting and Senott Road Culvert Replacement. The items are on different articles this year, but are seeing a total of almost $10,000.

The maintenance and road repairs line item is seeing the largest increase in the Whitefield budget, jumping from $151,398 to $409,459, a 170% difference from last year. Winter maintenance for roads increased, too, from $319,414 to this year’s amount of $379,200, which Violette said is mainly for projects delayed from last year.

“Last year, they chose not to pave any roads, so the budget stayed down,” she said.

Compensation for employee benefits for town employees went down for this year’s budget, from $167,721 to the recommended amount of $164,498.

Operations for town budget went up to $110,976 from last year’s amount of $100,617. According to the town warrant, this section of the budget consists of necessities to run the town buildings, such as electricity, telephones and postage stamps.

Facilities maintenance rose from last year’s amount of $32,266 to this year’s amount of $53,011 — a 64% difference.

Areas of the budget stayed similar, if not the same, like in the areas of salaries, utilities and maintenance for the recycling center, which had a small increase from $3,369 to $3,497 and operation of the Whitefield Fire Department went from $96,963 to $97,563. The fire department capital outlay stayed at $9,000 and the general assistance program at $2,000.

Whitefield residents will also have the ability to vote on a building and developmental ordinance, which would apply to all new or expanded residential, commercial, structural, industrial or instructional land area developments in the town. Barns, stables and other agricultural structures are exempt from the ordinance, along with repairs and renovations that do not increase the space of a given area. The ordinance outlines specific guidelines for the said developments.

According to the ordinance, the purpose is to preserve the safety of the public, to protect the value of property taxes, control environmental pollution, to protect the animals and plants in town and to preserve the “natural beauty” of Whitefield. It’s also to regulate, identify and assess new or expanded structures.

On Tuesday, Whitefield residents will vote on Regional School Unit 12’s budget from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Fire Station on 24 Townhouse Road, according to the town’s website. The proposed school budget is $24,477,840 with a local share of $13,043,097.

Voting for the warrant articles will be on Saturday at Whitefield Elementary School at 10 a.m.


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