ROCKPORT — Town Manager Jon Duke noted that the town meeting Wednesday, June 15 was productive, bringing together the community to pass a challenging budget with a 7 percent increase.

“It was the first town meeting we have held since the pandemic,” he said. “It brought together so many different corners of our community to approve a budget that needed to be explained.”

All of the budget items passed during the town meeting at the Rockport Opera House. David Kinney served as moderator and about 75 people attended.

Residents approved $1.5 million for road and sidewalk repairs. Duke said this was needed due to damage from the Oct. 31 storm, though he believes the town will be reimbursed by FEMA.

Some of the budget items on the town meeting warrant had not received support from the town’s budget committee.

Duke, who has experience working in town administration, said this was a different budget experience for him as he started working in Rockport this year. He said the goal was for the town to get ahead on some of the road work and infrastructure projects needed so that it was not constantly playing catch up in coming years.

“We need to be serious about taking care of what we have,” he said.

The town has had several budgetary challenges including a collapsed sewer line, a rodent problem in town buildings and a failed air conditioning unit at the town office, not to mention increases in legal costs associated with the legal battle over construction of the new hotel in the village.

Even with the challenges, he said the average budget increase in local towns was about 7.66 percent, while Rockport was seeing a 7.02 percent rise.

In the Select Board meeting following town meeting, the board voted to continue to have Michelle Hannan serve as chair and Mark Kelley as vice chair.

It was announced at the town meeting that John Strand has resigned from the Select Board.