HARTLAND — Residents at Saturday’s annual Town Meeting will have a number of issues to consider, including a proposed $1.5 million municipal budget, regulating a possible needle exchange program and expansion of an affordable housing district.

The meeting is to be preceded Friday by voting in municipal elections from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Irving Tanner Community Center at 62 Elm St.

The Town Meeting is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Saturday, also at the community center.

Residents are to decide whether to approve a town budget that represents about a $95,000 increase — about 6% — to current spending.

Town Manager Christopher Littlefield said the increase is related to expenses across the board as costs continue to rise. Although the municipal budget has increased and the county and school district budgets are expected to rise this year, it is too soon to say how it will affect the property tax rate, according to Littlefield.

The warrant for the Town Meeting includes an article that would amend the town’s affordable housing tax increment finance district to add an additional area to the district, which would allow for another affordable housing project. Littlefield said the issue came up when a developer approached town officials because he was interested in building another project.

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Another article would create a needle exchange program and needle disposal ordinance. Littlefield said the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office requested the article, which would create regulations if someone were to start a needle exchange program in town.

Friday’s elections include a race for the Board of Selectmen, a race for a seat on the Regional School Unit 19 board of directors and a race for three seats on the budget committee.

The selectmen’s race is for a three-year term and has two candidates: incumbent John Hikel, who now serves as chair of the board, and Roderick Pease.

The RSU 19 board race is also for a three-year position and has two candidates: incumbent Mark Hansen and Rebecca Trafton.

The budget committee is listed as one election, although three seats are available, and residents can vote for up to three candidates. Only two candidates are listed on the ballot: Suzan Ackerman and Barbara Day.

It is possible for a write-in candidate to fill the third seat. Otherwise, it will likely remain vacant until next year, according to Littlefield.


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