WATERFORD — Annual town Meeting voters will be asked to approve a $1.8 million budget when action begins Saturday, March 1.

Voters will tackle the 70-article warrant, including a $1,824,107 municipal budget, beginning at 9 a.m. in the Municipal Building at 366 Valley Road. The municipal budget request is down slightly, from $1,856,574 in 2018 to $1,824,107 in 2019.

The total budget, including municipal, school and county, request for 2019 is down slightly, from $4,078,063 in 2018 to $4,070,607 in 2019.

Selectmen say if all the spending articles are approved as submitted, and the vote to reduce the tax burden is also approved as submitted, and property values remain the same, it should be possible to keep the 2019 mill rate the same as 2018 at $15.40 per $1,000 of assessed value.

The largest cost driver in the municipal budget is capital improvements to the roads, according to information from the Board of Selectmen.

This year, the town is asking voter approval of $239,446 for highway and bridges and $117,857 for care of winter roads.

Additionally voters will be requested to approve $483,440 for continued tarring surfacing or resurfacing Waterford roads. Money for that action will include $220,206 from rollover from last year, $203,914 from 2018 excise tax account and $59,320 from the 2018 local roads assistance program account.

Selectmen said in 2018 the town spent more than budgeted because of a conservative budget and unplanned expenses in the transfer station and highway budgets. Both will be monitored closely going forward, officials say.

Selectmen say the cost of recycling has gone up “dramatically” over the past several years and the town now pays $100 per ton to dispose of recyclables, where previously the town used to receive money for recyclables. The town is asking for $13,000 for the tipping fees, an increase of about $9,500.

Voters will be asked to raise and appropriate $45,000 for fire protection and $10,600 for firer chief and assistant fire chiefs salaries plus $26,024 for the town’s share of the Stoneham rescue. Officials say safety costs, such as fire, rescue and others, have remained flat.

But town office costs, particularly health insurance, has been rising significantly over the past few years, they said. This year the town is requesting $91,674 for health insurance.

Voters will be asked to authorize the board to take surplus monies from one budget to cover overdrafts in another account. The action does not allow the town to spend more than it has, but provides flexibility in moving money around to cover actual costs.

In other actions, voters will be asked to approve:

  • $16,000 for the library account;
  • $75,00 for future equipment purchases;
  • $27,500 for legal expenses. The request will include using $22,625 in carryover funds from the previous year. Selectmen said this article will replenish legal expenses incurred during Fiscal 2018. The funds are in a designated portion of the town’s checking account. The board also noted that the town is currently owed $20,000 as part of a sub-division violation. As those funds arrive they will be deposited into the designated savings account to support legal requirements.
  • $129,585 for town employee salaries;
  • and $49,486 for Waterford parks and recreation.

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