Minot to vote on budget

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MINOT — Voters will convene at 9 a.m. Saturday, March 6, at the Minot Consolidated School to approve this year’s municipal budget at the annual town meeting.

Funding requests in the 65-article warrant that selectmen will present to voters total approximately $1,750,000.

Selectmen and the Budget Committee have worked with department heads over the past two months developing a set of funding recommendations that, all else being equal, should allow the town to maintain the current level of services without raising property taxes.

“State money is still uncertain. We’re struggling to do everything we can to maintain,” Town Administrator Arlan Saunders said.

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Saunders noted that the budget includes a 12-month pay freeze for all town employees.

“I met with each one individually and everyone is on board with this,” Saunders said.

Despite county taxes increasing from $175,100 to $186,300, town spending would remain relatively flat if voters go along with the recommendations.

Selectmen and Budget Committee members agreed to trim two projects.

Both boards recommended that the Recreation Department’s request of $55,000 for improvements at the Minot Memorial Park should be reduced $27,000 and are recommending that voters eliminate funding to reconstruct and pave Hadfield Road, estimated to cost $165,300.

The $28,000 cut from the Recreation Department request means that the installation of scoreboards and bleachers will have to wait another year but funds to maintain the three new athletic fields and to pay for a Department of Environmental Protection permit for the development of the town’s 150-acre property is preserved.

If voters approve the recommendations of selectmen and the Budget Committee, the town would reduce spending by less than 1 percent from the current budget.

The only point of disagreement between selectmen and the Budget Committee is over how much townspeople should raise for library services. For the past two years the town has contracted with the Auburn Public Library to serve Minot residents for $15,000 a year.

This year the Auburn Public Library is asking for $20,000, a number selectmen are comfortable with, but that the Budget Committee thought was too much. The Budget Committee is recommending the town raise $17,500 for library services.

Voters will also decide whether to fund two new items.

Selectmen are asking that $31,875 be set aside to conduct a property values update. Another $31,875 would be raised next year, with the update to be conducted in the spring of 2011.

Townspeople will decide whether to raise $4,000 to employ a private firm to develop a new structure for the town’s development impact fees charged to support public safety and recreation improvements.

Voters will be asked to adopt a cemetery ordinance and make minor adjustments to the town’s land-use code.

Polls will be open from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday, March 5, at the town office for municipal elections.

Voters will elect two selectmen for three-year terms and two school board members to serve three-year terms on the RSU 16 board.

This year, all the candidates on the ballot are incumbents who are running unopposed.

Seeking new terms on the Board of Selectmen are Stephen French and Daniel Gilpatric. Seeking new terms as Minot’s representatives to the RSU 16 board are Susan Callahan and Steve Holbrook.

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