HARRISON — Voters at Wednesday’s annual town meeting rejected giving a proposed 4% raise to administrative employees and having a full-time fire chief and per diem staff that would have added $225,000 to the budget.

The decision on pay freezes salaries at the current levels and leaves the town with a deficit to pay for increased health care benefits.

Harrison resident Peter Brown speaks Wednesday night at the annual town meeting at Harrison Elementary School. His motion to freeze the administrative budget to the previous year resulted in administrative employees losing 4% raises and leaves the town in a deficit to pay for increased health benefits. Nicole Carter/Advertiser Democrat

More than 150 residents gathered at the Harrison Elementary School. Resident Peter Brown repeatedly opened discussion on articles, making motions to amend spending to the current fiscal year levels or eliminate or slash capital investment.

Amendments to articles sheared more than $254,000 from the proposed budget.

Voters reduced capital reserve funding and purchases by $113,000.

Article 30 proposed allocating $650,000 to road repairs, but was amended to cut $40,000 in roadside vegetation trimming. Article 31 called for putting $355,000 toward the comprehensive reserve fund, but voters approved $200,000.

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Article 32 listed $513,300 for capital purchases from reserves, including a truck for Public Works, a pickup truck for Parks & Recreation, an SUV for code enforcement, fire department gear, and heavy equipment for the transfer station, highway department and recreation department. It was amended to $400,000.

Article 39 called for $225,000 to be set aside to continue village revitalization projects that qualify for a dollar-to-dollar match from the state. An amendment to appropriate $100,000 was narrowly defeated.

Voters approved amendments to the Floodplain Management Ordinance, but voted down amending the building permit requirement ordinance. They also rejected a new short-term rental ordinance.

Before the meeting adjourned, Select Board Chairman Matthew Frank appealed to voters to reconsider the article on administrative salaries and benefits. No one who voted against the article, which is required to make the motion, did so.

A few shouted “No!” in Frank’s direction.

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