OAKLAND — Residents at the annual Town Meeting this week approved a $7.4 million municipal budget and all 23 articles that were on the town warrant.

Around 90 residents came out to Williams Elementary School on Tuesday to approve a budget that represented a 9.1% increase over last year.

Increases to the spending plan were caused by rising utility costs and other inflationary pressures many towns are facing, Town Manager Ella Bowman said.

More specifically, the town paid an additional $22,000 in fees for municipal waste services, and the public works department budgeted a $26,000 increase for the cost of salt and sand, an additional $31,000 for the cost of paving and a $25,000 increase for fuel, oil and other expenses.

Town employees’ wages and benefits also increased a little over $92,000 this year due to a 5% cost-of-living adjustment, according to the annual town report.

But Bowman said Wednesday that those costs were offset by a 26.7% increase in revenues brought in by the town, which means the tax rate will not increase for residents.


The mill rate will remain at 17.2, Bowman said. One mill is equal to $1 in property tax levied per $1,000 of a property’s assessed value.

The jump in revenue was driven in part by people moving to town in recent years and contributing property taxes, Bowman said.

“We’re a pretty attractive place to live,” she said Wednesday, pointing to Oakland’s school system, comparatively low tax rate and outdoor recreation opportunities.

The added revenue helped offset a $124,000 increase in the school budget and a tax increase at the county level, Bowman said.

“It’s a good budget,” she said. “We did everything in our power to make sure we didn’t see a tax increase … we had one last year.”

Residents at the meeting supported replacing a couple town vehicles over the next few years. They put $75,000 toward a new front-end loader at the transfer station and approved adding $100,000 to an account for a new fire truck. The loader will cost $225,000 and Bowman said the town will purchase the fire truck next year.


The town also got the OK to purchase two police cruisers currently being leased by the Police Department, which will cost an additional $22,000 that Bowman said will lead to long-term savings.

Residents supported adding about $96,000 to the town’s annual operating costs in response to a fee increase from Delta Ambulance.

The town of Freedom rejected the Delta fee in February and switched providers for emergency response services. Residents in several other towns such as Fairfield have approved the rising fee.

The Town Council at previous meetings had lamented the fee but said it felt compelled to accept it.

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