HARTFORD – Selectmen have recommended taking $90,000 from the town’s fund balance to limit any tax increase, and as a result residents will see a tax rate of $13.08 per $1,000 of property valuation. The rate last year was $13.07.

Following a potluck supper Thursday night in the Town Hall, approximately 50 residents passed most of the 74 articles reflecting a municipal budget of $673,010. Moderator Steve Wight led the voters efficiently through the warrant. The mood of the assembly was light-hearted and relaxed.

The complete budget as it stands, including the school and county tax, will be $1,636,418. The school warrant was passed Wednesday. Hartford’s share will be $901,105. Last year the total was $859,113.

Five Budget Committee members were nominated and elected from the floor Thursday. They were David Kraske, Neil Hanley, Daniel Maddox, Robert L’Heureux and Arthur Harvey.

The town approved providing winter maintenance to the end of Gurney Hill Road and to the new resident at 298 Darrington Road.

After considerable discussion over the merits of the town purchasing recycling bins versus residents buying them, it was decided that residents will purchase them from the town at $8.95 per bin.

When discussion arose over the $4,596 for the animal control officer. Leslie Boness spoke for the present officer, saying, “Rick Houghton … should be recognized as he had walked four miles on snowshoes in the winter to rescue a horse.” The article passed.

A new article this year asked the town to appropriate $5,000 to create a Contingency Fund Account. The article will do away with having a special town meeting when a relatively small amount of money must be appropriated. The Board of Selectmen and the Budget Committee together shall have the authority to approve any expenditure from this account.

Resident Arthur Harvey questioned if the majority should rule in a situation where there were three selectmen and five on the Budget Committee. The Maine Municipal Association will be contacted for advice.

The Town Hall account increased $5,600, and Selectman Lee Holman said that electrical work was badly needed.

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