Minot selectmen increase property tax rate

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MINOT — Selectmen on Monday set the property tax rate for 2015-16 at $15.60 per $1,000 of assessed property value. It’s a 60 cent increase from the previous fiscal year.

Taxes on a property assessed at $100,000 will increase by $60. Of that amount, $18.65 will be for education.

“I believe this is the fifth year since we’ve had an increase,” Selectman Eda Tripp said.

She said she warned people at the March town meeting that a tax rate increase was inevitable, given the action voters took at that meeting.

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Helping to drive the increase was the need to replace a couple of large culverts, one for Cool Brook and the other for Morgan Brook, as well as the decision to construct additions to the Orchard and Central fire stations.

At the time, it was noted that the culverts were failing, and Goodwin and Verrill roads would need to be closed if the culverts weren’t repaired.

Estimates to complete the fire station improvements were lowered to $180,000, about a third of what earlier estimates had been.

Tripp said the overall tax commitment was up about $230,000, including the increase in what the town pays Regional School Unit 16.

In other business, selectmen approved a revised purchasing policy, which requires that all purchases over $3,000 must be made through written sealed bid specifications, or the equivalent. They must be approved by the town administrator and the Board of Selectmen. Only selectmen may award bids.

Selectmen also authorized Town Administrator Arlan Saunders to sign postings declaring the land around the Minot Consolidated School off limits for hunting.

The impetus for the posting follows an appeal by school students concerned for their safety when using the vernal pool study site in the woods next to the school. While the land is within the 500-foot, no-discharge zone around the school, the board felt a formal posting was a good idea.

The students will help with the posting.

Saunders reported that the installation of the Cool Brook culvert at the Goodwin Road crossing went as planned and the road is open to traffic. The town highway crew will haul gravel to Goodwin Road this week to raise the roadbed by about 2 feet.

He also reported that he expects to hear from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on the request for a permit for the Morgan Brook culvert at the Verrill Road crossing within a couple of weeks. Saunders said the work will likely take place after school starts and will have to be coordinated with school bus schedules. He said he doesn’t anticipate having to shut down through traffic.

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