Dixfield voters provide options for failed department budgets

DIXFIELD — Voters at the annual town meeting Thursday approved an article giving three new options for selectmen to take on failed department budgets.

The majority of 40 residents approved an article that says if a department budget for fiscal year 2018 fails to pass, the town can legally spend the same amount raised and appropriated the prior fiscal year, or pass a modified budget.

Town Manager Carlo Puiia recommended approval of the article, along with selectmen.

“This gives the board discretion to decide, depending on how many department budgets don’t pass at the polls,” he said.

“We wouldn’t need this if we still had the traditional town meeting to vote on these budgets,” Selectman Norm Mitchell said.

This was one of 12 articles approved by voters at the meeting, moderated by Richard Pickett.

Residents also approved due dates for taxes. The first half is due Sept. 15 and the second half is due April 15, 2018.

Resident Dan McKay asked why the two dates were necessary.

Puiia said tax money is needed to help with the cash flow.

McKay asked about the town’s surplus and how long those funds carry the town.

Puiia said there’s enough surplus to run the town for about 90 days.

Residents also voted to enter into a third 10-year extension with Med-Care Ambulance. The interlocal agreement will expire June 7.

Puiia said there are changes regarding services and terminology.

“Everything else is basically the same,” he said.

He said the Med-Care assessment is per capita. For the past year, the per-capita total dropped from $61,107 to $59,666.

With little discussion, voters approved:

• $129,130 for debt service, which includes loan payments for a firetruck until 2025, a 2014 plow until 2018, and a road construction bond for High and Pine streets until 2034;

• $197,202 for public safety and health, which includes utilities and contracted services, such as Med-Care assessment;

• $686,543 from revenue sources to reduce the amount needed from taxation for fiscal year 2018;

• $37,741 for liability insurances; and

• $7,500 for General Assistance.

The following municipal committee members were approved:

• Finance Committee: Denise Kidder and Eric Theriault; three vacancies remain;

• Ione Harlow Scholarship Committee: Malcolm Gill;

• Ludden Memorial Library trustee: Vickie Carrier;

• Water Advisory Board: Brenda Turbide and Gerald Stone; two vacancies remain; and

• Parks and Recreation commissioners: Christopher Noyes, Randy Holman and Patricia Benson.

Articles 13 to 29 will be decided at the polls from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, June 13, at the American Legion. Absentee ballots are available at the Town Office until June 8.

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