GREENE — Voters at town meeting Saturday agreed to spend less this year than last on local government and services, but taxpayers won't know the full burden until the school budget is set.
Townspeople approved a spending plan of $1.2 million, about $36,000 less than the amount raised for 2012. But that amount does not include school taxes.
Town Manager Charles A. Noonan told the 100 or so townspeople at the Greene Central School gymnasium that a lack of school budget figures made it difficult to come up with a final budget.
“Not having that school budget is a tremendous detriment to making decisions,” Noonan said.
There was brief discussion of moving the annual meeting date to early summer when the school funding figures would be known. It was agreed that town officials would look into a change, but it would not be possible to accomplish such rescheduling for about two years.
Townspeople spent more than half an hour on an article to provide a discount for early tax payments. Selectmen had recommended a 5 percent discount and the Budget Committee had proposed 1 percent. Voters shot down the discount altogether.
The new municipal budget includes:
* A significant increase in dispatch services in the Fire Protection Expense Account, from $8,775 to $22,375. Noonan said higher Androscoggin County fees were responsible for the jump.
* A Public Works Road Maintenance Expense Account appropriation of $484,170, including $350,000 (an increase of $25,000 over 2012) for road construction and paving. Noonan said an increase in the cost of asphalt was the principal reason.
Residents asked if additional pavement overlay would be done on College Road, which received pavement last year. Noonan said it might be a couple of years before that happens. Someone asked if Meadow Hill Road would get attention. A resident suggested that cutting back some brush would improve safety, and town officials agreed to have crews do that.
* A total of $7,350 for 10 charitable organizations, as recommended by selectmen. The Budget Committee had recommended giving the groups no money. However, Budget Committee member Brenda Theriault urged approval.
She said the request “doesn’t amount to one stop at the coffee shop for you on your tax bill.”
Rural Community Action Ministry asked for $5,500, which was the highest among the 10 requests. Noonan said he has seen the work done in Greene by RCAM and he praised its effectiveness.
In other action, Noonan said an article calling for enactment of a “Flood Plain Management Ordinance for the Town of Greene” would have “really no effect whatsoever” on the town. He said it’s a yearly process to examine the floodplain maps, and there had been no changes since last year. Voters agreed to the enactment as requested.