NORWAY — Residents approved a $4.8 million municipal budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year at the annual town meeting Monday evening at the Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School Forum.

Nearly 50 residents approved all 39 articles in about 90 minutes.

Some residents had questions on why certain articles saw an increase over the previous year, such as the Police Department budget, which is $84,455 more than last year.

Holt attributed the increase to health insurance.

“Health insurance, as many of you folks know, is rising,” Holt told the residents. “We didn’t increase anything. The only thing that changed was the number of people being covered. The family situations of some of the employees changed. We insure more people than we did last year, and that caused some increases.

“Selectmen are working with the union to find ways to reduce that number,” he said.

Holt said the “biggest culprit” in the increase of the town’s insurance, from $104,500 to $136,500, was workers’ compensation.

“The town sustained some pretty serious injuries, with some folks being out permanently or for a while, and because they were serious, it drove up our rates,” Holt said. “We have an active safety committee that is working as hard as they can to bring that number down, but it’ll be a couple of years before we recover from the injuries we sustained.”

During discussion on raising and appropriating $983,717 for highways and Public Works, a resident asked why Roberts Road was partly paved, while the rest of the road was dirt.

Holt said the main reason was money.

“We have a planning committee, and when they developed their five-year plan, Roberts Road was on it for the next few years,” Holt said. “At the end of the five years, your wish will come true. It just takes a while. The problem is that Roberts Road is not the only road that requires attention. The town decided to do a little here and a little there, which is the way a lot of towns fix roads now.”

Residents approved the article.

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Norway residents overwhelmingly approved a $4.8 million municipal budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year during Monday evening’s annual town meeting at the Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School Forum.

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