Friendship sails through warrantBudget up 3 percent
Friendship — It took 80 minutes to approve the 31-article warrant at Friendship's town meeting March 18.
The more than 40 residents in attendance approved the $728,443 budget — an increase of $11,136 or 3 percent from last year. A majority of that is due to a foreseen 18 percent decrease or $7,504 in state revenue sharing and the addition of Knox County Communications expenses of $29,833 that contributed to the protection budget increasing 42 percent or $42,279.
The sum of the general budget combined with article requests totals $728,443. After applying revenues and reserves, voters approved raising the difference of $378,443.
The municipal elections held March 17 saw incumbent Arthur "Bubba" Thompson Jr. voted in for a three-year term on the Board of Selectmen and Pamela Cabanas ran unopposed for a three-year term as assessor.
Of the 946 registered voters in town, 175 cast their ballots.
Residents passed a secret ballot question by one vote, 87 to 86, to support raising $6,500 for fireworks as part of Friendship Day 2014.
Two articles that failed dealt with funding stipends for the recreation director and ball field maintenance director. Residents voted 99 to 74 against raising $1,000 as a stipend for the recreation director and 105 to 66 against the proposed $1,500 annual stipend for a yet to be created maintenance position.
Other articles gaining voter approval were:
— raising $5,000 to be split between the town clerk and town treasurer for the purchase of health care insurance, 129 to 44.
— $1,500 for each the road and snow budgets to increase the hourly wage of the road commissioner from $16.47 to $17.50 and snowplow drivers from $15 to $16 per hour, 105 to 68.
— raising $12,000 for the fire department budget to increase the fire chief's salary from $4,000 to $5,000 and pay an hourly rate for all calls and mandatory training, 126 to 48.
Courier Publications reporter Beth A. Birmingham can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 125 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.