St. Albans voters raised bright green cards to vote on warrant items during Saturday’s annual Town Meeting. Amy Calder/Morning Sentinel

ST. ALBANS — Voters at Saturday’s annual Town Meeting approved a $1.34 million budget that included requests to authorize the spending of COVID-19 relief money and form a committee to explore how to spend those and other grant funds.

About 40 people turned out for the meeting at town hall, swiftly moving through the 45-article warrant and approving all articles in an hour and 15 minutes.

In Friday’s elections, Tammy Crocker defeated Gregory Crump and Robert Worster for a three-year term on the Board of Selectmen to succeed Peter Denbow, who chose not to run for reelection. Crocker garnered 43 votes to Worster’s 33 votes and Crump’s 23. Crocker is the wife of St. Albans fire Chief Jamie Crocker. Denbow was elected to moderate Saturday’s meeting.

As part of an article asking for authorization to spend American Recovery Protection Act funds, voters approved spending $30,000 of that money for 10 sets of turnout gear for the fire department. The town received $103, 556 in ARPA funds and expects to get an additional $103,500 this year, for a minimum of $207,056, according to Town Manager Rick Fisher.

Budget Committee Chairwoman Emillie Lemire asked for specifics about an article asking voters to authorize municipal officials to create the Grant Advisory Committee. The committee would help explore uses for ARPA money and help the town manager find additional grant opportunities, including grants or loans for designing and building a new fire station. The five-member committee would include the town manager, a selectman, a fire department official and two residents.

Lemire wanted to know if the committee would meet and help with grants for just the fire department, or for other town purposes as well.

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St. Albans Town Manager Rick Fisher, at left, sits with newly elected St. Albans Selectwoman Tammy Crocker and Todd Brown, chairman of the Board of Selectmen, at Saturday’s annual Town Meeting. Amy Calder/Morning Sentinel

“It’s not just for that — it’s for all grant opportunities,” Fisher said.

He said the committee would look at all types of projects and grants and he would apply for them. He said it is not his job to set policy or determine the best way to spend funds — it is up to the town. Lemire also wanted to know if the committee is temporary or permanent. Fisher said he wouldn’t say it is permanent, but one that would definitely exist longer than one year.

Peter Denbow, who decided not to run for reelection to the St. Albans Board of Selectmen this year, moderates Saturday’s annual Town Meeting. Amy Calder/Morning Sentinel

“I look at that type of committee as a long-term committee that is researching grants,” he said.

Voters Saturday also decided to put $85,000 into the public works capital reserve equipment account.

The budget voters approved Saturday does not include school or county spending, according to Fisher. The $1.34 million municipal budget represents a 4.49% increase over the $1.29 million budget approved last year, with increases reflected in insurance, salaries, equipment and supplies, Fisher said.

But he said the town’s tax rate of $16.75 per $1,000 worth of valuation is not expected to increase unless the schools or county have increases. The town’s tax, or mill, rate has not increased in three years, he said.

As of 2020, the population of St. Albans in Somerset County was 2,045, according to Fisher, who has been town manager since 2019. He also serves as town treasurer, tax collector, general assistance administrator, secretary to selectmen and human resources officer.

 

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