Despite a budget increase of 21.54 percent on the docket, Washington's Board of Selectmen said the town was still in good shape and will continue its long history of not needing to borrow money to maintain operations.

Selectman Tom Johnston said March 14 that the town usually has unspent fund balances to roll over which offset the budget, but because of a rough winter last January through March and increased expenditures for ambulance coverage, revenues took close to a $60,000 hit.

The municipal tax assessment of $874,996 will be offset by $408,124 in anticipated revenues, and after adding in county tax assessment, communications and ambulance, the final amount to be raised from property taxes is $755,977 — an increase of $133,998 from last year. The budget does not include Regional School Unit 40 numbers.

Johnston said that although county tax assessment remained fairly flat, the increase for service from Union Ambulance was huge.

He said the public's expectations are going up, which has created the need for additional personnel. Added to the flat rates being charged to have a medic respond or a second ambulance as mutual aid, that makes it harder to generate additional revenues.

Also noted was a $3,000 increase in the assessors agent's salary. Selectman Wes Daniel said that is because of a reassessment that is underway, which requires more hours, and that figure will most likely decrease next year.

Although the road maintenance category saw an uptick of $10,000 after repairs were completed on a loader last year, the labor portion was underestimated, and increased by $14,000. Selectman Berkley Linscott said that although public works crews tried to monitor their hours, unexpected storms at the beginning and end of some weeks repeatedly required cleanup.

One warrant article will seek $4,000 from property taxes to rebuild the Soldiers Monument in the village square, while another will ask for $2,500 for a blinking yellow speed limit sign to be placed on Liberty Road for southbound traffic entering the village.

Daniel is running uncontested for reelection to  a three-year term on the Board of Selectmen.

Washington will hold voting on town affairs Friday, March 29, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the Bryant Room of the Gibbs Library.

The annual town meeting will take place Saturday, March 30, at 10 a.m. at Prescott Memorial School.

Courier Publications reporter Beth A. Birmingham can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 125 or via email at