Members of the Richmond Selectboard and Richmond Budget Committee sit on stage Tuesday at Richmond Middle and High School while residents vote on the proposed municipal and school budgets during the annual town meeting. Kennebec Journal image from video

RICHMOND — Residents passed the $8.2 million proposed Richmond School Department budget and made a few minor adjustments to the $2.9 million proposed municipal budget Tuesday during the annual town meeting.

Voters considered 48 warrant articles related to the municipal budget and 16 related to the Richmond School Department’s spending plan.

The meeting generated discussion, as the Richmond Budget Committee, Selectboard and School Department recommended different spending totals in certain areas, as the budget committee recommended a 3% raise for municipal wages and a flat budget for the schools.

Ultimately, the School Committee’s recommended budget of $8.2 million was approved by voters. After state and federal funds, the town must raise $4.94 million.  The town raised $4.83 million in local spending for the 2023-24 school budget.

As for the municipal budget, residents chose a few of the Budget Committee’s recommendations over those of the Selectboard, ultimately passing a budget that was slightly less than the Selectboard’s $2.9 million proposal. Town Manager Laurisa Loon was not in the office Wednesday to confirm the new budget amount.

Therese Accord, a six-year member of the Budget Committee, said the committee recommended a flat budget because of the tax impact school spending has had on the town since withdrawing from Regional School Unit 2 last year.


Gary Carter, a Richmond resident and a teacher in town, spoke of how the School Committee absorbed a difficult challenge last year in creating a budget the first year after leaving RSU 2. The town voted to withdraw from RSU 2, he said, and should uphold the school excellency the town strived for.

“The challenge of funding a school budget have never been more difficult. I am mindful of that and the impact of that,” Carter said in public comment before voting started on the school budget. “However, the school committee and this community voted to form its own school system and they were charged with developing a financial plan that maintains the services that existed in RSU 2.”

Resident Mike Grizkewitsch Sr. questioned several budget items Tuesday night, related to both the municipal and school budgets. He asked about the unspent money left over from the current year’s budget, which is just under $300,000.

Interim Superintendent Bob Webster said it’s because the district budgets the amount it thinks it will need for the year, and sometimes that amount is slightly off what the school department ends up spending.

Kari Crosman, a teacher at Marcia Buker Elementary School, said when she created her school classroom’s budget, she was told she could not have several items on the list because of the School Department’s fiscal responsibility.

“So everything I purchased this year has come out of my pocket and I continue to purchase what we need, but it’s come from me,” she said during public comment. “We had to cut things in different ways … We are being extremely fiscally responsible and it’s why we might have additional money.”


The projected municipal budget was just under a 1% increase with an increase of over $700,000, but to offset the budget increases the town used $641,154 in undesignated funds. The amount to be raised through property taxes for the $2.9 million budget is $2.1 million.

On the municipal side of the budget, the notable budget increases include payments to the Gardiner Ambulance Service to pay down accumulated debt, with a payment this year of $32,459. The ambulance fee associated with the service also increased.

Residents chose to pass the Budget Committee’s recommendations for the code enforcement officer, which was $57,366 rather than the Selectboard’s recommendation of $57,811, and for the Public Works Department at $419,105, rather than the Selectboard’s recommendation of $433,897.

The Budget Committee in its proposed budget recommended town employees receive a 3% wage increase, while the Selectboard recommended a $1 per hour increase. The town also approved a new benefit plan in Article 35 for the Richmond Police Department, for which the residents voted to raise $66,140.

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