BUCKFIELD — For the first time in recent memory, residents will be able to only decrease — not increase — money associated with warrant articles at Saturday’s annual town meeting.

The meeting kicks off at 9 a.m. June 13 at the Buckfield Junior-Senior High School auditorium, 160 Morrill St.

More than a month ago, selectmen voted 2-1 to make the monetary amounts for the warrant articles close-ended, which caps the amounts that can be spent on certain articles. 

A petition to revisit the issue, which included 30 signatures from residents, did not sway the majority of selectmen.

The proposed fiscal year 2016 budget comes in at roughly $2.4 million, which is nearly $143,900 more than the current budget. The estimated tax rate is $21.80 per $1,000 of assessed value. This is an increase of $1.25 over the current rate.

Based on a house valued a $125,000, taxes for the upcoming year will be $2,725, or $156 more than this year.

There were slight increases in recommended funding for most town departments, with a few decreases. The biggest decrease was for debt service by nearly $73,200 from the current budget. Selectmen also removed $3,250 from the Fire Department’s budget, which is 50 percent of the cost to purchase and install central air conditioning in the new station, and $3,250 from the Rescue Department’s budget to purchase and install central air conditioning in the new station. They also increased the fund balance appropriation from $150,980 to $170,990, according to Town Manager Cindy Dunn.

Big-ticket items in the 49-article warrant include a $37,500 loan to purchase a new four-by-four truck with a plow for the Public Works Department and a $140,000 loan for a new loader for the same department. With interest, the truck would cost more than $41,022 and the bucket loader totals more than $153,151.

There’s a proposed $75,000 increase in the summer roads account, to be used in conjunction with funding from the state’s Local Road Assistance Program, toward capital road improvements. The request for fiscal year 2015-16 is $325,000.

Selectmen and the Budget Committee recommend setting aside money for major purchases and projects and appropriating $81,118 this year.

There are two articles regarding the Zadoc Long Free Library, after ownership of the library and the details of the deed were brought into question in November. The first is to see if voters will approve the acquisition of the library, along with its land, buildings, books and other personal property from the library’s Board of Trustees. The second asks for approval to have the town operate and maintain the library as a town department “in accordance with bylaws and administrative procedures approved by the Board of Selectmen.”

Another article asks voters to approve changes to the Zoning Ordinance, which is recommended by selectmen and the Budget Committee.

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