STRONG — Voters at town meeting Saturday will be asked to raise 12 percent more from taxes than last year, largely to replace aging highway equipment.

The meeting will begin with an election of officers from 1 to 6 p.m. Friday and reconvene at 9:30 a.m. Saturday to act on the warrant. All activities will take place at the Forster Memorial Building.

In Friday’s balloting, Rupert Pratt and Rod Spiller are competing for the selectman seat vacated by Jim Burrill, who declined to run again. School board directors Lois Barker and Jessie Stinchfield are running unopposed. Voters also will select three Budget Committee members by write-ins.

Voters in 2016 raised $577,725 from taxes and appropriated $133,749 from other revenues to pay expenses. This year, selectmen recommend raising $646,261 from taxes and appropriating $40,644 from other revenues.

The request for an additional 12 percent more from taxpayers includes a proposal to replace equipment in the Highway Department. Selectman Mike Pond will present voters with a 10-year plan to finance the purchase of a backhoe, three trucks, a loader and a grader. The financing plan starts in 2017 with the purchase of the backhoe, which will be paid for in estimated $35,000 installments over five years.

Selectmen recommend raising $15,000 to add to the Special Equipment Fund and will ask voters to approve raising an additional $20,000 to start a Pond Road improvement and paving project.


Voters will be asked to transfer an additional $60,000 from surplus to the tar account for road paving projects.

Selectmen also recommend transferring $250,000 from surplus to reduce the tax commitment. According to figures in the annual town report, as of Dec. 3, 2016, the unpaid real estate and personal property taxes totaled $184,714.

The United Methodist Economic Ministry is requesting $2,700 from the town. Selectmen recommended raising $2,500, and the Budget Committee recommended funding the full request.

Voters will be asked to approve changing next year’s town meeting from the first Saturday to the third Saturday in March. Many of the figures selectmen and the Budget Committee require to plan the budget aren’t available by the end of February, according to office manager Sandra Mitchell, so the extra two weeks will provide her with time to finalize accounts.

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