STRONG — Selectmen unanimously voted at their recent meeting to set the 2014 tax rate at $13.60 per $1,000 of property value.

Property tax payers will see that increase, up from $12.80, on tax bills sent out in late July or early August. The town has seen higher mill rates, including $15.40 in 2006 and $24.80 in 2005. The town also pays a share to the Franklin County budget and the RSU 58 budget.

“Our share of the current school budget has increased,” assessor’s agent Robert Worthley noted.

RSU 58’s budget increased from last year’s $801,546 to $857,515. That increase alone accounts for approximately 7/10ths of the full 8/10ths increase.

Reductions in state revenue sharing, according to Worthley, also continue to decline.

“I just wanted to point out we’re not going to receive so much,” he said.

Traditionally, the selectmen appropriate revenue sharing funds as a way to offset taxpayer costs in the next fiscal year. Worthley’s figures, for example, indicated the town received $92,967 in 2009 and spent that money in 2010. In 2014, the revenue sharing decline to a projected $51,347 could be decreased even more, to $39,894. Selectmen should plan for an $11,000 shortfall, Worthley noted.

In other news, selectman Joan Reed said she met with a contractor who gave her a bid for tree cutting in the cemetery on True Hill.

“Those trees should not have been in the middle of the cemetery, but they are,” she said. “We flagged 20 of them.”

She said the contractor would charge $6,300 to complete the job. Selectmen asked her to contact a second company for a quote before they made a decision to spend the money.

Aaron Marden, an employee in the Highway Department, has written several successful grants for the Fire Department, including $18,456 for turn-out gear, according to fire Chief Duayne Boyd. Marden also serves as a firefighter.

“All of Aaron’s hours and hours and hours of writing grants has paid off,” Boyd told selectmen.


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