TURNER – Selectmen have approved a new tax rate of $17.40, an increase of 36 cents per $1,000 of valuation.

The increase will cost taxpayers $36 more on each $100,000 of valuation.

With an increase of approximately 4 percent for county taxes, 5 percent for the schools and losses from state cutbacks in the Homestead Exemption, officials had expected a much greater increase in the mill rate.

However, a small cut of $33,000 in the municipal budget, a higher state valuation because of increased housing starts and higher than expected excise tax and revenue sharing helped offset those expected increases, Town Manager Jim Catlin said.

New tax bills should arrive in mailboxes next week. There will be one bill that contains two coupons, one to accompany the Nov. 1 payment and the second for May 1. Two bills will no longer be issued. Selectmen will place payment notices in local papers for the May payment and may send out reminder cards.

In other business:

• Selectmen voted to go forward with legal action against five junkyard owners who have failed to comply with the town’s ordinance. They are Arthur Vandell on Auburn Road, Carl Miner on School House Hill Road, Gregory Spear and Hecks Auto Repair, both on Fern Street and Bill Whitman on Upper Street.

In all cases, licenses were to be issued at the beginning of the year and for various reasons were not. The owners were given notification of violations and given time extensions for the cleanup activities. Each, according to Code Enforcement Officer Roger Williams, is still in violation of specific portions of the ordinance and cannot be licensed.

• The board signed the warrant for the school referendum to be held on Sept. 23. The polls will open at 1 p.m. The warrant has one money article for $6.3 million to fund four building projects at Tripp Middle School, Greene Central School, Leeds Central School and the Leavitt Institute building parking lot.

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