BUCKFIELD — Voters passed a $3.66 million budget that includes town, county and school spending plans — all of which saw increases — at town meeting Saturday.

The municipal budget for fiscal year 2020 is $1.83 million, an increase of $57,929 over the current budget. The Oxford County assessment is $133,803, an increase of $10,351. The town’s share of the RSU 10 budget is $1.66 million an increase of $21,721.

The projected tax rate is $24.25 per $1,000 of assessed value, up from the current rate of $23.73, according to Town Clerk Cindy Dunn.

Town Manager Joe Roach said an increase of roughly $2,500 in insurance coverage came in after the budget process and was included in minor increases in the Administration, Fire, Rescue, Public Works and Municipal Center accounts.

An amendment made by Rescue Chief Floyd “Chip” Richardson to increase the Fire Department budget by $14,000 to include a dual fire-rescue position to increase daytime coverage – which was not recommended by the select board or Budget Committee in an attempt to keep taxes stable — was defeated.

Incoming Fire Chief Adam Dupile, currently the deputy chief, said the position would provide daytime coverage four days a week instead of the current three.

“We all know the volunteer fire service is dying out,” he said, adding that the Fire Department consists of 11 members and only six are Buckfield residents. “Nobody wants to do something doing it for free. We need help. The only way to get help now is to pay people.”

Selectmen said they had heard taxpayers’ call to not increase taxes, but that didn’t mean they won’t revisit the request next budget cycle.

After a tie vote on the amendment, a secret ballot was cast. The question failed 19-15. Voters then passed the select board’s recommended $99,505 Fire Department budget.

Budget Committee member Judy Berg made a motion to appropriate $500 for the railroad bed. The motion passed. The increase from the recommended $250 by the select board will go toward material to improve the condition of the recreational trail, Roach said.

Voters approved $2,100 for organization and local events, including Community Day which is always held on Labor Day. The select board recommended $1,500 and the Budget Committee recommended $600.


Comments are not available on this story.