The proposed 2010 Friendship town budget is down about 3 percent, but the amount to be raised in property taxes is up slightly.

If residents approve all of the items at the March 16 town meeting, the total expenditures will be $726,199, down $24,213 from last year’s budget of $750,412.

The amount to be raised will be $426,199, up $787 from last year’s amount of $425,412.

That figure depends on whether residents vote to use $300,000 to reduce taxes, as proposed. Of that, $192,996 is from excise taxes, $53,452 is from state revenue sharing and $53,552 is from undesignated funds. Last year the town used $325,000 from these sources to reduce taxes.

Townspeople will decide this year whether to purchase a new or used snowplow truck. Article 7 on the town meeting warrant asks if voters will authorize selectmen to borrow up to $150,000 for the vehicle and raise and appropriate $32,653 for the first annual payment.

The proposed budget for general government is $150,212, up $1,923 from last year. That budget includes $67,500 for office salaries, up $1,500 from last year.

The protection budget is $128,747, up $3,947 from last year. The requested appropriations for the ambulance and fire departments remained the same as last year. The protection section of the budget includes $13,400 for the harbormaster/wharf, up $2,700 from last year. In addition, the director of emergency management budget of $1,700 is up $1,100 from last year.

The $155,000 highways budget is up $9,000 from last year.

The town buildings budget of $46,100 is down $3,400 from last year.

The budget includes $108,193 for health, sanitation and social services, down $1,641 from last year. That includes $89,724 for the solid waste transfer station budget, down $726 from last year.

Also included in that section is the $2,500 general assistance line, which is down $1,500 from last year. (Only $1,250 was actually spent on general assistance last year.)

The planning board expense line is $8,381, up $2,381 from last year.

Residents will be asked at town meeting to approve $5,000 to be added to the town’s legal fund.

They will also be asked to approve $10,000 to finish an adequate drainage system for the new ball field across from the Friendship Village School.

The town will be asked to raise and appropriate $20,000 for the replacement of town vehicles fund.

Several ordinance items are on the warrant for the town meeting. Townspeople will be asked to enact an Emergency Management Ordinance. They will also be asked to amend the Friendship Shoreland Zoning Ordinance to correct errors and comply with state changes that have reduced the areas protecting wetlands.

In addition, voters will decide whether to amend the Friendship Junkyard Ordinance to comply with state statutes.

Residents will also decide whether to enact the proposed Friendship New Road Entrance and Driveway Ordinance, which would establish regulations and standards for driveway and road entrances.

Meetings and elections

The town elections will be held Monday, March 15 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the town office.

Incumbent Selectman Earl Bachelder is seeking re-election. Running against him for the three-year term is Timothy McLaughlin.

Victor Motyka is running for assessor. Mary Genthner is running for school board.

The town meeting will be held Tuesday, March 16 at 7:30 p.m. at the Hahn Community Center.