STRONG — Voters at Saturday’s annual town meeting will be asked to raise 10.8 percent more money than last year, in part, to pay for a new backhoe and a new one-ton utility truck.

Polls will be open from 1 to 6 p.m. Friday at the Forster Memorial Building to elect municipal officers. The meeting will reconvene at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at the building to vote on the 41-article warrant.

The Strong Methodist Church will host the traditional noon meal for voters Saturday.

Selectmen Richard Worthley and Rodney Cook are unopposed for three-year terms. Voters can write-in candidates for two school board members, because  Barbara Worthley and Jackie Sniadecki have declined to run again. Candace Clarke and Clarence Nutting are on the ballot to fill two vacancies on the Budget Committee.

Voters will be asked to raise and appropriate $655,769, a $64,308 increase from the 2017 budget.

New funding requests include $27,635 for the first payment on a new backhoe purchased last year. Voters a year ago approved spending up to $105,000 for it. In October 2017, selectmen approved buying one for $120,465 and taking $5,400 from the trade-in and $9,000 from the Special Equipment Fund to make up the difference.

The Budget Committee wants the backhoe payment to come from the equipment fund.

Selectmen also are asking voters to:

• Raise $25,000 to add to the $20,100 in the equipment fund to cover a new one-ton utility truck. The 2001 Dodge 3500 won’t pass inspection in August, according to foreman Duayne Boyd.

• Transfer $60,000 from surplus for paving projects and $6,000 from surplus for the first phase of paving the Fire Department parking lot.

Selectmen support the Park Committee’s request for $3,000; the Budget Committee recommends raising $2,600.

Selectmen and the Budget Committee recommend no funding for all outside agencies, except the Salem United Economic Ministries, which requested $2,500. Selectmen recommend raising $2,700; the Budget Committee recommends $2,500.

Selectmen also recommend transferring $250,000 from surplus to reduce the tax commitment.

The town report is dedicated to Lendell and Elaine Allen, who have spent decades devoted to school, community and church committees and events. The two have volunteered to cook, serve and clean up at town meeting luncheons.


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