WOODSTOCK — Town Manager Vern Maxfield said voters approved a $1.69 million municipal budget at Monday’s annual town meeting, but the $228,000 increase from last year does not mean a higher tax rate.

That’s because of more revenue.

The budget includes $90,000 to buy land for a boat launch on North Pond and $85,000 to buy the former state highway garage on Route 232.

The question of whether to purchase property for the launch and landing site drew mixed reviews from voters at the Woodstock Elementary School, but it was overwhelmingly approved.

Maxfield said the need for a boat launch has been discussed for several years.

“As it is now, there is no proper boat launch access to North Pond,” he said. “For years, boats have been launched into North Pond via an unsafe opening directly off Route 26 into the pond. Access was available off Gore Road, near Bird Hill Road, for years, until it was discovered that the area that had been commonly used to launch boats was private property.”

In early 2015, the Board of Selectmen learned that property next to the old boat launch site had been purchased and the owner said his goal was to preserve the property for a future boat launch.

“A series of talks led to a purchase and sale agreement between Mr. Richard Gordet and the town of Woodstock,” Maxfield said. “Marcel Polak, in his role as property broker, handled the transaction for the town in a very professional manner.”

Maxfield said money to pay for the purchase and site development would include $50,000 from Patriot Renewables wind company for conservation purposes, $20,000 from the Planning Board’s in-lieu fund, and $20,000 from taxes, unless other sources of funding could be found.

Several residents spoke against the boat launch.

Resident George Hayes said he saw “a whole lot of problems in having a boat launch there,” especially “making sure everything is cleaned up.”

Resident TL Magee said, “I don’t see the point in putting this in there. With all of the big boats coming into the pond, you’re going to see a lot of milfoil. It seems like this whole thing is just going to make a mess.”

However, Jane Chandler, who also serves on the Conservation Commission, said commission members are in favor of the boat launch. It will be a safe way for people to access the pond “who do not have waterfront property to use as access to the pond,” she said.

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