West Paris to choose officers, OK slightly higher budget

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WEST PARIS — Voters at the annual town meeting March 1 will be asked to approve a budget of just under $1.1 million for the 2014-15 fiscal year and choose a selectman and a water district trustee.

Action on the 41-article warrant gets underway at 10 a.m. at the Agnes Gray Elementary School on Main Street. Selectman Dennis Henderson and Water District Trustee Shane Poland are up for re-election.

Voters will be asked to approve a municipal budget of just under $1.1 million, which is $11,403 more than last year’s budget, Town Manager John White said.

White said if all articles are approved, the tax rate would increase about $1. The current rate is $15.75 per thousand dollars of property value.

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“Our tax rate has been pretty stable over the last few years,” White said.

The tax impact from the school budget will not be known until SAD 17 directors approve it in the spring.

White said the projected increase is not due to an increase in municipal spending but rather uncertainty about state revenue-sharing funds, which selectmen have projected at $75,323.

The Maine House and Senate enacted a measure Thursday to restore $40 million in revenue sharing to municipalities for the fiscal year that begins July 1. The bill now goes to Gov. Paul LePage, who has until Feb. 25 to decide whether to veto it or let it become law.

Selectmen are asking voters to increase the property tax levy limit of $681,714, the amount established for the town by the state, to $704,144 in case the approved budget results in a tax commitment that is greater than the limit set. The increase is about $38,000 more than last year.

In other action, voters will be asked to raise and appropriate $84,292 for the Fire Department. Last year, voters approved $70,142 but raised another $13,000 after the budget was almost depleted by August.

The Board of Selectmen is also asking voters to raise and appropriate $92,000 for solid waste disposal, recycling and transfer station operation; $333,610 for the Highway Department; and $45,000 for the Highway Department reserve account, which has $88,616.

Voters will be asked to raise and appropriate $75,000 for the Capital Equipment Reserve account, which has about $33,700; $30,490 for the West Paris Library; and $27,180 for ambulance and rescue services.

ldixon@sunjournal.com

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