Board approves $1.9 million municipal budget

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DIXFIELD — Selectmen adopted a 2010-11 municipal budget of $1.9 million Monday night that is virtually the same as the current year’s operating budget.

Despite a budget that is actually a few thousand dollars lower than this year’s, chances are the tax rate will increase because of a reduction in revenue sharing, an increase in Oxford County taxes and an expected hike in school tax.

The budget will go before voters at a town meeting set for 6 p.m. May 27 at Dirigo High School.

Town Manager Eugene Skibitsky said the current tax rate is $16.25 per $1,000 valuation.

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Voters will also be asked whether they want to retain a police department that provides 24/7 coverage.

Selectmen on Monday approved a nonbinding opinion question that residents will act on at the polls on June 8. The results will not affect this year’s budget deliberation, but could affect the development of next year’s budget. Currently, the town employs a four-person department that provides 24 hour coverage.

For the 2010-11 proposed budget, selectmen recommend a $304,000 budget for a full-time Dixfield Police Department.

Also on Monday, the board decided to continue their research into the impact a wind farm may have on the town by agreeing to attend an educational presentation by an environmental noise expert at a session sponsored by the Phillips Planning Board and the Sandy River Land Trust on May 3.

The session is set for 6 p.m. at the Phillips Middle School gymnasium.

The board is currently studying all aspects of such a development because of a proposal by Patriot Renewables LLC of Quincy, Mass. The firm is tentatively planning construction of up to 15 industrial wind turbines on the ridge that includes Col. Holman Mountain.

The board also learned that Dixfield is now included with neighboring Mexico and Rumford in a Fast Forward Maine project. The goal of the project is to help improve the business climate through working with area businesses. Skibitsky was appointed to the Fast Forward Committee.

In other matters:

• The retirement of 21-year employee of the Public Works Department, William “Dickie” Frost, was announced.

• An assessor will be at the town office all day April 29 to answer any property tax-related questions residents might have.

• Residents are asked to make nominations for the Distinguished Citizen of Year by May 10. Selectmen will then choose one who will be honored at the annual town meeting.

eadams@sunjournal.com

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