ST. ALBANS — Residents at the St. Albans’ annual Town Meeting approved all but two articles on the town warrant, despite concerns that the overall budget has increased 12.5% from last year.

The annual town budget for 2023 is $1.5 million, according to Town Manager Todd Nadeau, who said the budget increase was residents’ biggest concern Saturday. He said they did vote to approve it after some debate.

Citizens questioned the town’s decision to make adjustments in the compensation and benefits of hourly town employees. But Nadeau says those adjustments are overdue, and are “commensurate with their peers in municipal (government) in like-sizes communities.”

The increase was also necessitated by inflation and overall increases across all budget line items, the town manager said.

Nadeau said the way in which this budget increase affects the tax rate is yet to be seen. He said that for now the mill rate remains at $16.75 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, but could change later this summer when Somerset County Commissioners announce their “anticipated increase” to provided services.

“We sure hope that any increase is as minimal as possible, but we’re all in the same boat trying to maintain services at as cost effectively as we can during these very challenging economic times,” Nadeau said Saturday.


In 2022, St. Albans went “slightly over budget,” Nadeau said. This was largely due to challenges with aging equipment in public works, and “significant expenses” in maintaining and repairing the fire department’s fleet of vehicles and equipment, he said.

Going forward, Nadeau said the town will be more “proactive” about safety within the town departments and facilities. The town has duly budgeted $149,053.20 for the fire department this year, an increase of 81.9% from 2022.

Nadeau explained that the department is no longer staffed by volunteer firefighters, and will pay its 35 employees (the largest firefighting roster in St. Albans’ recent history) the minimum wage.

The town also approved a 22.8% increase in the public works department’s budget for 2023. That department, Nadeau said, also has significant equipment needs, and the budget accounts for spiking costs of fuel for plow trucks, sand, salt, servicing and repairs.

Residents voted down only two of 48 articles. The first was a proposed purchase of a $50,000 loader out of budget surplus for the public works department, and the second was a proposal to hire an engineer to study the reconstruction of Ballard Road in town.

“The citizens want that work to be done by residents who have the expertise,” Nadeau explained.

Residents also voted to fill two positions. They elected Gregory Charles Crump to the selectboard over incumbent Emillie Lemire, and reelected Jason Scholten to the Regional School Unit 19 board of directors for a two-year term.

The race for the select board position was close, Nadeau said, and came down to a handful of votes.

Crump will now serve a three-year term on the select board. According to the annual town report, he already serves as an officer in the St. Albans Fire Department and on the town’s Cemetery Committee.

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