KINGFIELD — Selectmen approved a one-half mill increase in the current tax rate. The approved rise will bump the current rate of $14 per $1,000 of assessed real estate value to $14.50 for the 2012-2013 fiscal year.
“That’s an increase to the average property owner of about $20 per year,” board Chairwoman Heather Moody said.
Selectmen also agreed to approve the purchase of a Kioti tractor from Whittemore and Sons in Skowhegan. The purchase price includes $29,992 for the tractor and $4,395 for the front-end loader. Money will come from the new vehicle account as well as from the vehicle reserve and FEMA accounts.
Bruce White, Public Works director, explained the reasons for purchasing new equipment and the time and effort staff had put into finding high-quality equipment at the best price. “That solved a lot of problems, and I appreciate the help,” he said.
In other news, selectmen accepted an $854 bid for property on Map 4, Lot, on Rapid Stream. Abutters Claudia and Steven Krigest were the sole bidders on the property, which was assessed at $800.
Administrative assistant Douglas Marble explained the application for the Safe Routes to School grant. The town would be responsible for designating the locations for improvements and extensions of the existing sidewalks.
“The grant application has been submitted, and we’ll do this in three phases if we’re approved,” Marble said. “I want you to look at this and have a chance to change it if you need to, but this gets our foot in the door.”
If the town gets the grant, the first phase would extend a sidewalk from School Street to the Kingfield Elementary School. The second building phase would extend the sidewalks from School Street to Depot Street, and the third stage would build a section from Depot Street to Salem Street.
Marble and Public Works representatives have met with Maine Department of Transportation engineers to survey safety concerns and private property and public utility concerns.
The town must commit 20 percent of the cost of the “transportation enhancement” portion of the project planning; the actual costs to build sidewalks may be 100 percent reimbursable.