INDUSTRY — About two dozen residents gathered in Town Hall Saturday afternoon to conduct town business and set a 2020 municipal budget.

It took just over an hour for voters to pass 36 articles and set a $645,766 budget.

The budget is $138,351, or 27.3% higher than last year but two significant funding requests were offset by a total of $175,000 in appropriations from the Unassigned Fund.

First Selectman Earl Ireland speaks Saturday afternoon during the Industry annual Town Meeting. Dee Menear/Franklin Journal

Each year, surplus balances are carried over into the Unassigned Fund, First Selectman Earl Ireland said.

“The fund is healthy. Right now it has a balance of about $485,000, he said.

The town will use $75,000 from the fund and an additional $75,000 raised through taxation for the care, maintenance and tarring of Upper Rand Road.

“We will replace all the culverts, grind the surface, roll it out and cover it with chip seal,” Ireland said. “If the cost of oil continues to drop, we may get more bang for our buck.”

Chip seal is a petroleum-based product, he explained.

The remaining $100,000 appropriated from the Unassigned Fund will be used toward the purchase of a 2019 or newer plow truck with new plow gear and sanding body. The purchase price of the truck is not to exceed $185,000.

The balance, after trade-in or outright sale of one of the town’s older trucks, will be financed for no more than five years with an annual payment not to exceed $18,500 a year.

The board was also authorized to enter into a 15-year contract with Central Maine Power for the purpose of upgrading to LED streetlights. The town has less than 40 streetlights.

Part of the process would be to evaluate the location of streetlights and to determine where they are not needed and where they might need to be, Ireland said.

Preliminary discussions with CMP last fall indicated the town could save approximately $1,250 a year, said Second Selectman Rob Geisser.

There was no indication if taxes would increase as a result of the town meeting, Ireland said.

“Property taxes consist of three components. What we are doing here are municipal appropriations for running the town, things like plowing roads and paying salaries,” he said.

The town’s portion of Franklin County and Regional School Unit 9 budgets also affect the tax rate, he added.
Those budgets have not yet been set.

Ireland was reelected to his position during elections held earlier in the day. He received 17 of the 18 ballots cast in the uncontested race.

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