MINOT — Selectmen set this year’s property tax rate at $15.70 per $1,000 in property valuation Monday night — an increase of 60 cents, which, on a property valued at $100,000, translates to a property tax increase of $60.

For the last two years the tax rate has held steady at $15.10 per $1,000 but, with excise tax collections expected to be down and less money in the form of revenue sharing coming from Augusta, there was no way the town could escape a rate increase, said Eda Tripp, the town’s chief assessor.

Tripp noted that in addition to the tax increase, homeowners who benefit from the state’s Homestead Exemption program will see an additional tax increase of about $25 thanks to a reduction in the amount being exempted through that program.

Last year under the program property owners in Minot were exempt from paying taxes on the top $10,920 of their property’s value. This year the reduction will be figured on $8,300.

“It really is a dirty trick. When the state first started the program, the exemption was $13,000 but they’ve chipped away at it,” Tripp said.

Selectmen also opened bids on work to complete the last 2,976 feet of the town’s new 2 1/2-mile walking trail system and awarded the work to Washburn & Son of Minot at a bid price of $2.35 a foot.

A total of 12 companies bid on the project. Washburn’s bid was tied for lowest, being matched by Chenard Construction of Greene. Selectmen, on the recommendation of Recreation Committee members Lisa Cesare and Candace Gilpatric, who noted that they have been quite happy with work performed by Washburn in the past, agreed that in a tie, the local firm should be favored.

Gilpatric noted that when this last section is complete, the cost for the 2 1/2-mile trail system will stand at $70,000 — half of which came from a state grant program. The trails are 8 feet wide, made of 3/4 inch crushed ledge that comes from Pike Industries.

Selectmen also met with Clint Knowlton to discuss the Poland Recreation Program’s football teams’ use of one of the new Minot Memorial Park fields for their home games.

Knowlton said the field will be used on five or six Saturdays this fall, with three games taking place on each Saturday.

Selectmen concurred with Cesare’s and Gilpatric’s opinion that the fields are there to be used and all that mattered was that football and soccer people work out any scheduling problems.

In other business, selectmen approved a system for sale of cemetery lots in the town’s new cemetery on Center Minot Hill and signed a letter of commitment for 25 percent of the cost for a new culvert for Indian Brook at the Shaw Hill Road crossing as part of the application for an Emergency Management Agency grant.

Town Administrator Arlan Saunders reported that the town garage/town sand pile area passed a Department of Environmental Protection inspection with flying colors. Selectmen requested that Saunders convey their thanks to Road Foreman Scott Parker and the town crew for keeping things up to snuff.

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