Residents vote at the annual town meeting Wednesday night at Harrison Elementary School, ultimately approving a $6.79 million budget.

HARRISON — Voters at the annual town meeting Wednesday evening passed a $6.79 million budget that is not expect to increase the property tax rate.

Walter Riseman was elected moderator by the roughly 40 people in attendance, including town officials.

The fiscal 2018 budget is $79,607 more than the current one.

Municipal operations increased by $11,945 to $1.88 million.

The town’s assessment to Cumberland County increased by $17,662 to $351,238.

Harrison’s contribution to School Administrative District 17 is projected to decrease by $194,000 to roughly $3.41 million.

“I am very pleased to present a budget this year, at worst-case scenario, that will hold the tax rate at $10.95 (per $1,000 of assessed value), which is the average for the past five years,” Town Manager George “Bud” Finch told residents. “(This) is the result of a lot of hard work from the Board of Selectmen, the staff and the institution of … fluid planning. … I want to commend everybody I worked with, including the Budget Committee and all, in accomplishing this.”

Voters approved using $756,536 in revenue to reduce taxes.

Alex Soutter of Naples Road made an amendment to increase the public safety budget by $70,000, to $264,033, so the town could hire a part-time deputy to help the full-time deputy with speed control.

“I want something to happen out here before somebody gets killed or one of my horses gets hit,” he said.

His amendment failed, 14-19. The original recommendation on $194,033 for public safety, which is up $7,185, passed.

Voters also approved:

• $495,240 for administration, up $31,678;

• $560,429 for Public Works, up $20,703;

• $107,913 for Fire and Rescue, up $7,787;

• $235,241 for solid waste, up $3,674;

• $88,186 for parks, up $12,078;

• $112,675 for recreation, up $1,550;

• $44,250 for insurance, down $7,054;

• $75,250 for community services, down $2,300;

• $600,000 for capital roads, the same as last year; and 

• $350,000 for capital reserve, up $50,000.

A motion by Selectman Raymond Laplante to add 75 percent of the school district’s reduced allocation to the capital reserve account to help keep the tax rate from increasing failed.

Voters approved using $213,230 from the capital reserve fund to make the last payment of the payloader, a new deputy vehicle, roof project at the Fire Station and projects for the Transfer Station, parks, Public Works and the Town Office.

Voters agreed to establish a legal reserve account with $25,000. Finch explained the account would allow the town to draw from this account for the town’s major legal needs instead of having to estimate a number in the operating budget. It also allows money to be added back into the account.

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