Kingfield resident Fulton Ryan, right, told voters at town meeting Saturday he was angry that the town budget didn’t include funds for the LifeFlight Foundation, a nonprofit medical air transport service. At left is moderator Paul Mills. Valerie Tucker photo

KINGFIELD — Voters at town meeting Saturday elected three municipal officers and set the 2019-20 budget at $1.3 million, about $100,000 higher than last year.

Many at the meeting wanted to know how the spending plan would affect their property taxes, but selectmen said it was too soon to tell. School and county budgets have not been set.

The 80 voters at Kingfield Elementary School raised and appropriated $1.18 million and authorized spending $196,090 in tax-increment financing funds, available through a state-approved tax-sheltering agreement with Nestle Waters North America, the parent company of Poland Spring Bottling Co.

Throughout the two-hour meeting, voters frequently asked selectmen how the dollar requests were calculated, whether requests could be increased or decreased and how their property taxes would be affected.

Selectman Walter Kilbreth said selectmen and the Budget Committee meet and make spending recommendations based on anticipated revenues and costs to operate the town for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1.

“We are doing the job that you are telling us to do,” he said.

Selectmen said taxpayers are welcome at these meetings and can offer their input well before the budget is finalized.

One of the most expensive challenges the town faces is road repair. Selectman Wade Browne noted that many of the local roads were built during the horse-and-buggy era.

Each year, they are patched temporarily, but that option is much more expensive in the long run, he said. Roads continue to deteriorate, and the price to fix them properly doesn’t go down.

The cost of rebuilding Tufts Pond Road is over $1 million, and the town has raised no reserve funds. The current estimate to fix all of the roads at once would be $3.2 million, which would require the town to borrow money and repay with interest, he said.

Voters approved $250,000 to start road repairs and maintenance projects, with a plan to approve the same amount in future years until the road work is done.

Among other budget requests, voters also approved $57,100 for the Fire Department, $20,000 for the Fire Equipment Account, $258,100 for the Public Works Department and $30,000 for the new Highway Equipment Account.

Voters elected Barbara Nickerson over Paul Orbeton in a 52-28 vote for a three-year seat on the School Administrative District 58 board. Incumbent selectmen Walter Kilbreth and Raymond Meldrum were re-elected without challengers.


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