HARTLAND — Residents have elected a slate of candidates to municipal and school positions while approving all warrant articles at the annual Town Meeting.

John Hikel was reelected to the Board of Selectmen with 125 votes. Falling short in their bid for a seat were Roderick Pease, who received 21 votes, and write-in candidate Harold Buker who received 123 votes. Hikel currently serves as chairperson of the board and now will serve another three-year term.

Incumbent Mark Hansen was reelected to the Regional School Unit 19 board of directors after receiving 168 votes, defeating Rebecca Trafton who received 94 votes.

Also on the ballot during Friday’s voting were three seats for the town’s budget committee. Suzan Ackerman received 180 votes, Barbara Day received 165 votes and write-in candidate Holli CarMichael received 20 votes.

Residents then gathered at the Irving Tanner Community Center on Saturday for the Town Meeting. All articles passed as written, Town Clerk Triss Smith said Monday.

That includes the $1.5 million municipal budget, which was roughly a 6% increase from last year, or $95,000.

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Town Manager Christopher Littlefield previously 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, Littlefield said.

The approved articles also include the creation of a needle exchange program and needle disposal ordinance. The Somerset County Sheriff’s Office requested the article, which would create regulations if someone were to start a needle exchange program in town.

Also approved was an amendment to the town’s affordable housing tax increment finance district. The amended version will now add an additional area to the district, which allows for another affordable housing project.

The issue came up when a developer approached the town about the change, as the developer was looking to pursue another affordable housing project.


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