Norway warrant includes several major purchases

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NORWAY — Annual town meeting voters will be asked to approve a $2.7 million operating budget and $427,500 in capital projects. Those projects include the purchase of a new fire truck, Highway Department grader and funds for continued road projects.

Town meeting gets under way at 7 p.m. June 20 in the Forum at the Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School in Paris.

The board met Thursday to sign the 44-article warrant. Selectmen and the Budget Committee followed Town Manager David Holt’s recommendations and approved the new fiscal year’s proposed town budget during the last week.

Budget Committee members and selectmen have been meeting weekly for almost a month to deliberate the proposed $2.7 million budget for the fiscal year that begins on July 1.

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The warrant calls for the approval to appropriate $445,151 for the operation of the Police Department and $213,800 for the Fire Department. The Highway Department is requesting $730,134 for its operating budget.

A total of $191,106 is being sought to pay for utilities townwide and $114,440 for insurance costs and $399,021 for employee benefits.

In other action, voters will be asked to approve $251,161 for the library operations, which was also the amount requested by the Board of Library Trustees.

The capital budget includes the following requests:

* $48,000 for in-town street improvement.

* $200,000 for road improvement.

* $48,000 for the reserve account for truck and plow gear replacement.

* $10,000 for tree removal on town roadsides and properties.

* $9,000 for the sidewalk and traffic safety reserve.

* $18,000 for the bridge repair reserve.

* $10,000 for the reserve for repair of cemeteries, headstones and fences.

Voters will also be asked to authorize the purchase of a new highway grader for $225,000 with $120,000 from the highway reserve account and $105,000 to be financed; the purchase of a new four-wheel-drive fire pumper for the estimated $325,000, with $125,000 taken from the fire truck reserve account and $200,000 to be financed.

If voters approve, the purchases will be paid through a $305,000 bond financed for 10 years at 3.5 percent from the Maine Municipal Bond Bank or another institution.

Voters will also be asked to appropriate the town’s share of the operating cost of Norway-Paris Solid Waste Inc. at $ 275,000.

In the only article that generated a lot of comment during the budget process, voters will be asked to appropriate $110,000 for General Assistance, including $10,000 to pay for the administration of the funds. The amount is $25,000 more than requested last year.

Holt told selectmen Thursday that the warrant was straightforward except for an article that may be considered “unusual.” It is to approve a 2006 downtown study plan that he said was never approved by town meeting voters. Because the document will be noted in an upcoming grant application for downtown improvements, Holt said it must be officially approved.

ldixon@sunjournal.com

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