DIXFIELD — Town officials have proposed a $2.46 million municipal budget for 2019-20, an increase of 2.5% from current spending.

“We were conscious that if the school gets their 8 or 9 percent, and if we asked for 5 percent, we knew that would be more than what our voters could take,” Town Manager Dustin Starbuck said.

An increase in general government will pay for seven new computers and a server because none of the computers are on the same operating system.

“We need to have the whole town on one network, with off-site backup,” Starbuck said.

Starbuck said the computer he is using was bought in 2011.

“Every once in a while, I have to hit it on the side to get it work,” he said. “It just shuts off.”

The road reserve budget is up 4 percent to complete Hall Hill Road. It will cost an estimated $151,000 to finish the lower section and pave it.

For the Police Department, Starbuck said selectmen have decided to go with pickup trucks, which are more rugged. The department is looking to buy one new truck this year, perhaps a 2019 model.

“We have roads like Severy Hill (so) they might do a little bit better and maybe our maintenance costs might go down,” he said.

Library Director Peggy Malley said there is $3,500 in the current budget for a new circulation desk, and she wants to add $3,000 to get the desk built this year. She said the library has received an estimate of $6,848 and is awaiting another. The budget also includes $1,000 for two computers and $850 for a copier, she said.

Malley will retire in July so the town will advertise the position and increase the hours from 32 to 40, Starbuck said.

Fire Chief Scott Dennett said his budget includes $19,000 for three self-contained breathing units for the East Dixfield Fire Department. They will replace secondhand units that are more than 30 years old, he said.

The annual town meeting warrant will include an article asking if residents prefer voting on all warrant articles by secret ballot at the polls or at an open meeting, as in the past.

The straw poll is to give selectmen feedback, Starbuck said.

A public meeting to review the annual town meeting warrant is scheduled for June 1. Voters will go to the polls June 11.

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