LITCHFIELD — Town residents are expected to consider $2.7 million in spending for the upcoming budget year when they gather Saturday for the annual Town Meeting.

To pay for the municipal spending, Litchfield officials are proposing to use $1.5 million in revenue from permit fees, excise taxes and state revenue sharing, and $200,000 from fund balance. The remainder, about $1 million, would come from property taxes.

The Town Meeting is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. at the Carrie Ricker School gymnasium, 573 Richmond Road.

Town Manager Kelly Weissenfels said Thursday the property tax rate in Litchfield is now $14.20 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, and it was not clear what the rate would be in the coming fiscal year.

He said one of the factors that determines the property tax rate is the valuation of the town, and that has not been completed. He said the valuation is expected to increase this year because of new houses being built and additions to existing dwellings.

The other factors are the assessments for Kennebec County government and for Regional School Unit 4. The county assessment has been determined, and the school referendum vote was Tuesday.

While the proposed spending is $468,876 more than last year’s proposal, Weissenfels said spending a year ago had been scaled back due to concerns about the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Among the changes being proposed this year is the revision to the benefits policy for town employees. Weissenfels said the town’s personnel policy has been reworked and the town is offering employees more benefits than in the past, in part to be more competitive when hiring. The change would add nearly $9,000 in spending on benefits.

“We surveyed the surrounding towns to see what they were offering, and found we were a little bit behind the times in terms of the benefits package we had for our own employees,” Weissenfels said, adding some businesses were also surveyed.

Town officials are also proposing to remove the underground fuel storage tank at the town’s fuel depot and replace it with an aboveground tank. The existing tank is reaching the end of its certification and need be replaced. He said the project is expected to be completed by October.

Rather than buy a new front loader, town officials are planning to update the current one with new tires and other maintenance.

Town officials have also opted to continue to put money into the Fire Department’s equipment reserve account, while tapping it for $85,000 to pay for breathing apparatuses for the department. Weissenfels said the department found that replacing all the gear in a single year qualifies the town for a discount from the manufacturer.

Aside from routine town business, the Board of Selectmen is also seeking authorization to advocate against building a fish passage at the New Mills Dam or spending town money on it until the New Mills Dam Committee and the Cobbossee Watershed District board of trustees have determined doing so is in the best interest of residents. Along with that authorization, officials are also seeking $5,000 to cover costs from that, with any unspent money going into the town’s unassigned fund balance.

Other specials project requests include $20,000 to pursue grants or funding to improve broadband service, and $20,000 for grant-writing services.


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