Editor’s note: This story was corrected and updated after the original ran on April 14.

TURNER — More than 100 residents at town meeting Saturday approved a budget that will boost the rescue operations and keep the Town Office open five days a week.

The municipal budget approved by 111 residents at Boofy Quimby Memorial Hall totaled $2.67 million. If the MSAD 52 proposed budget for next year is approved in May, the town’s total budget, including its county assessment, will be $8.48 million.

Manager Kurt Schaub said if the education component is approved as proposed — $5.3 million for Turner — and added to the municipal portion approved Saturday and county amount, the town’s tax rate will rise from $15.70 to $16.60 per $1,000 of property valuation, which would translate to a $90 increase on a property valued at $100,000.

The amount of money to be raised from taxes for the municipal portion of the budget will rise from about $377,000 for the current year to about $694,000 under the newly approved budget. About $240,000 of that is for an increase approved by voters Saturday to the Rescue Department budget.

Schaub noted that the increase was also due, in part, to underappropriating or not funding certain town budget lines last year, including short funding legal expenses and transportation of solid waste.

Voters made numerous changes to other budget items over the four-hour meeting as they addressed 49 warrant articles.

The town’s administration budget was approved at $344,955, as recommended by the Budget Committee, following lively discussion. Selectmen had recommended $334,290. The lower amount would have forced the Town Office to close early one day a week for the coming fiscal year.

It was clear from comments that residents wanted to keep the office open. The Town Office will continue to close early on Friday until the end of June, however, to make up for a shortfall in the current budget.

The town’s Rescue Department budget increased the most of any budget line, rising from last year’s $272,361 to $512,747. The item drew comments from several voters, but the higher amount was finally approved.

The increase will allow Turner Rescue to raise emergency response to a paramedic level of service and will allow for coverage 24 hours a day, seven days a week, according to rescue Chief Toby Martin.

Voters increased the social services budget from the recommended $14,300 to $20,300 after social service providers reported on the help they gave to residents over the year. Voters approved $3,000 more for SeniorsPlus, for a total of $3,500, and approved $3,000 more for Turner Food Bank, for a total of $8,000.

Other items approved included: $2,500 for the GAR Community House fund; $125,000 for the highway equipment reserve fund; $194,624 for the summer roads line; $8,900 for maintenance of town cemeteries; and $20,848 for the Boofy Quimby Memorial Center.

Residents voted to not fund fireworks for the Fourth of July. The recommendation from the Budget Committee was to raise $5,300. Several residents commented that those who want fireworks should undertake private fundraising.

An amendment to the street construction ordinance failed. It would have allowed 30 lots per subdivision on a dead-end street, instead of the the current 15-lot maximum.

Moderator Ike Goodwin noted that the town report honored Annie Richardson for her dedication and contribution to the community over the years. He asked for a moment of silence in her memory. Richardson died in February at the age of 94.

Selectman Kurt Youland thanked outgoing Selectman Richard Keene for his nine years as a selectman. Keene did not win re-election Friday.

Goodwin called for two breaks during the meeting so voters could visit the food pantry booth and the Boy Scout tables with their homemade sweets. The Scouts were raising money for a trip to Fall River, Mass., to tour two ships and a submarine. They expect to spend the night aboard one of the ships, according to Scout Committee Chairman Rachel Pack.


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