Dixfield municipal budget would raise tax rate

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DIXFIELD — The proposed municipal budget of $2.4 million would raise the property tax rate 75 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, Town Manager Carlo Puiia said.

The rate would go from $20.10 to $20.85.

“Last year’s budget was held quite flat,” Puiia said. “We actually went down on our (tax) rate in the last two years. But you can only do that for so long. What’s difficult right now is not knowing what the school budget will be. We’re going to have to wait and see how that all plays out.”

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The towns of Dixfield, Peru, Canton and Carthage voted in November to withdraw from Regional School Unit 10 to form RSU 56. Byron also withdrew, leaving seven towns in RSU 10 to share the costs.

With an increase from $15,000 to $20,000 in the Homestead Exemption for property taxes, Puiia said a lot of people “may not even see any kind of increase, depending upon the schools and where that comes in.”

During the budget process, selectmen voted to increase the Police Department budget request by $24,461, bringing it to $391,445. The extra money is for training and special equipment.

The department is requesting $10,000 for the police cruiser reserve fund, which would bring it to $26,367.

Public Works is up $17,358 to $499,436. Some of the money will pay for demolition of a property that requires asbestos removal.

Randy Glover of Public Works said upcoming projects include Merrill Road, a “major rebuild” for Rollins Ridge and work on Hall Hill.

Puiia said Hall Hill leads to the entrance to the Irving Mill and the weight of trucks to and from there damages the asphalt.

“Irving is planning to redo their entrance to the road. We’re working in conjunction with them to try to fix the road from Route 2 up to their entrance,” he said, adding that improvements will include widening a section of the road.

In the road construction reserve account, there will be an additional $150,000, with $68,765 to pay on the bond for the High and Pine streets construction.

The Fire Department budget is up $1,055 to $90,698.

There is a request of $15,000 for sidewalks. Puiia said Public Works plans to improve two lengths between North Street and the Greenwood Cemetery.

Fire Chief Scott Dennett is requesting $50,000 in the firetruck reserve fund, which would bring it to $163,588.

Two additional warrant articles ask for a police building reserve fund and putting $25,000 in it; and a tax-acquired property reserve account and putting $2,000 in it to pay for building demolitions.

Puiia said $32,000 is requested for a property revaluation. There is $70,000 reserved for it.

O’Donnell & Associates of New Gloucester, which did the last revaluation in 2008, will do it for $102,000 in 2018, if voters approve.

Social services requests are identical to last year, with 16 agencies asking for a total of $13,732.

bfarrin@sunmediagroup.net

A public hearing on the $2.4 million Dixfield town budget will be held Thursday, June 1, with voting on Tuesday, June 13.

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