MONMOUTH – If everything passes, town meeting voters can expect the tax rate to climb by about 70 cents this year.

That would mean an increase of 3.2 percent from the current rate of $22 per $1,000 of valuation, said Town Manager Steven A. Dyer.

But if the three referendum questions that ask for money pass as well, that would mean an additional increase of $1.30 in the mill rate in the 2005 fiscal year, he said.

“It doesn’t affect people now, but it does at some point,” Dyer said.

Voters will consider a $2.27 million proposed municipal operating budget, Dyer said. That marks a 5.4-percent increase over the current $2.15 million budget.

A spike in insurances contributed to the town’s budget rise, Dyer said.

“The one that hit us the most was our health insurance,” he said, adding that it jumped by about $15,000. Health insurance is increasing at roughly five times the rate of inflation, Dyer said.

The vast majority of the budget increase reflects typical yearly increases, he said.

Voters will also consider a $5.99 million proposed school budget, Dyer said. That marks a 3.9-percent increase from the current $5.76 million school budget.

The town will raise about $3,589,000 from taxation this year, Dyer said. Last year it raised $3,478,541, he said.

Spending plan

One warrant article asks for $612,104 for public works. That represents 27 percent of the proposed town budget, Dyer said.

Another warrant article asks for $533,240 for general administration, he said, adding that includes expenses for things such as assessing and the town office. That represents 23.5 percent of the proposed town budget, Dyer said.

One article asks for voters to appropriate, borrow and spend up to $200,000 for a new sand/salt storage facility at the public works site on Academy Street.

Another article asks for voters to appropriate, borrow and spend up to $200,000 for construction of an addition to the highway garage.

Voters will be asked to appropriate, borrow and spend up to $2.1 million for construction of a new public safety building at 859 Main St. That building would house police, fire and rescue personnel, Dyer said.

Voters will also be asked to turn over to the board of selectmen the authority and responsibility for the management and maintenance of the North Monmouth Community Building.

The town-owned building gets used primarily as rental space for functions such as weddings and family reunions, Dyer said.

At town meeting in 1978, residents decided to delegate management of the building to the North Monmouth Community Club, he said.

Selectmen have been approached by residents who want to use the building – and also by club members – with concerns about how the building should be best managed, said Ralph Bickford Jr., chairman of the selectmen.

“I think that at this point the selectmen want to revisit the whole issue and see if we should put together a board of trustees, or some other form of managerial board,” Bickford said.

He said he did not yet know how many people would sit on that board or what shape it would take.

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