MEXICO — Residents narrowly passed a $114,842 Recreation Department budget Thursday by a vote of 230-221.
Town Clerk Penny Duguay said more people voted in the special, one-issue election than in the June 12 town meeting referendum.
“It was a good turnout,” she said.
The original figure presented to voters in June, and turned down 158-209, was $144,100.
Selectmen went back to the table and came up with the approved figure to try to get an entire budget passed so tax bills can go out. The new tax rate is expected to be set following another special town meeting on moving funds from one account to another on Thursday, Sept. 6.
The current tax rate is $23 per $1,000 valuation.
To arrive at the approved Recreation Department budget Thursday, the board reduced an originally proposed 40-hour per week position for the recreation director to 30 hours, reduced the recreation department reserve account, and made several other changes.
Some in town had wanted to see the budget reduced even more than the approved figure by using volunteers to operate much of the recreation program.
During the past year, many new programs have been introduced, but feelings ran high on both sides of the issue. Signs have been posted in many areas of town asking residents to vote “yes” or “no” on the matter.
Town Manager John Madigan said on Wednesday that if the $114,842 figure passed on Thursday, the program would continue to serve more children.
“All those programs require more supplies. The costs for the use of the recreation park and the recreation building have increased,” he said. “The revenue in those programs will also increase.”
The Budget Committee had wanted a 2012-13 Recreation Department budget much closer to last year’s which was $93,600.
With the final piece of the town’s budget finalized Thursday, the total came in at $3,106,885, which includes RSU 10 school taxes, Oxford County taxes, and money to operate the town.