NORRIDGEWOCK — Voters will decide next week on a $2.45 million municipal budget for the upcoming fiscal year that officials say may end up being less than the current budget.

Town Manager Richard LaBelle said the spending plan reflects an increase in cost for labor and energy but “nothing really significant” in terms of changes or proposals on the town warrant.

Voting for municipal races will take place in-person Monday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Mill Stream Elementary School and the Town Meeting starts at 7:30 p.m.

“Our overall expenses are up in large part due to labor and energy, so electricity, fuel and gas have been a really big driver in the budget,” LaBelle said. “Our adjustments there will hopefully be held to that one-time significant increase so that we’re leveled off.”

But LaBelle said that officials have been able to utilize revenues that have been held in reserve to offset the increase. He said the budget proposal before voters is less than last year’s.

“We’re actually proposing a budget that’s down versus the previous year, and depending on the amount of surplus it’s very possible that we could be down nearly 10% on our budget,” LaBelle said.


He noted, however, that “tax bills will reflect changes in the school and county budgets.”

This year’s Town Meeting warrant comprises 44 articles. Major funding requests include $379,565 for administration, $666,300 for public works, $119,032 for public safety and $233,499 for the fire department.

Contributing to the town’s revenue stream is host community fees the town receives from Waste Management for the landfill the company manages.

“Those (host fees) are increasing, the rate itself is increasing,” LaBelle said. “So the (Select) Board and administrators determined that it was sustainable to be able to add more of that forecasted revenue into our budget and to start returning money to the taxpayers.”

Several elected positions are up for grabs this year, including seats on the Select Board, Planning Board, budget committee and school board.

Five seats on the Select Board are open, with four incumbent candidates, including Charlotte Curtis, Matthew Everett, James Lyman and Lindsey Lynch.


Contested positions include two seats on the Skowhegan-based School Administrative District 54. Incumbent Morrigan McLeod and Samantha Delorie are running for one seat and incumbent Katherine Wilder and Jonathan Williamson for the other.

Residents, meanwhile, will decide whether to enact a moratorium on commercial solar energy projects. If approved, the ordinance would give the Planning Board time to determine whether adequate regulations are in place for the development of commercial solar facilities. If not, the board would have 180 days to review current ordinances or consider new ones, then bring them forward to voters for approval.

LaBelle said there are three major commercial solar facilities that have been approved by the town. Solar developments in town are currently strictly guided by state regulations and the town’s Site Plan Review Ordinance.

Voters will also decide whether to allow the Select Board to spend up to $341,000 in pandemic relief aid, but only after a public hearing is held to review potential funding proposals.

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