Washington approves double-digit increase

By Beth A. Birmingham | Mar 25, 2014
Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham Town Clerk Ann Dean swears in Guy Bourrie following town meeting in Washington March 22. Bourrie ran uncontested for a three-year seat on the RSU 40 school board. Duane Vigue also was elected to a three-year term for the board of selectmen.

Washington — Fifty-three voters took part in Washington's town meeting March 22 at Prescott Memorial School, approving all articles on the warrant amounting to a 12 percent increase for 2014.

This increase adds $75 to taxpayer's bills for properties valued at $150,000 — as the mil rate increases from $13.20 to $13.70 per $1,000 of assessed value. The town also anticipates a 2 percent increase in school costs, according to selectmen and budget committee projections.

The total municipal budget came in at $723,906 and the offset of the revenues projected brings the town responsibility to $361,406 — an increase of $38,273.

Articles of particular interest to those present were repaving Mountain Road and accepting funds from Levensaler Cemetery Trustees and taking over care of it.

Significant discussion was had on repaving as it was mentioned in three separate articles. Selectman Donald Grinnell explained one of the articles approved spending monies on repaving Mountain Road, while the other two dealt with amounts to be raised to accomplish the goal.

The $13,782 increase in maintenance of town roads follows the plan set in place last year for the town to repave approximately 2 miles of roads per year due to their deteriorating conditions. This year's plan is to repave Mountain Road.

The town has just over 20 miles of paved road which is recommended to be repaved every 10 years with a projected annual cost of $180,000.

Grinnell also stated the town has 13 cemeteries, many being maintained separately from the interest gained from trust funds assigned to that particular cemetery. Interest accumulated from these trust funds was lumped together several years ago and can only be used for maintenance projects in that particular cemetery, such as taking down trees, repairing fences, fixing head stones, and the like — not for mowing. The town is responsible for that.

A one-time donation to the historical society was also approved for renovations to the old town house. The society will use the money to buy supplies to create a historical museum at the sight.

What would appear to be a $7,000 increase in compensation for the Code Enforcement Officer is actually a decision by the selectmen to eliminate what was a "bookkeeping nightmare" last year, selectmen said. The CEO was compensated $8,000 in 2013 plus half of the land use-related fees collected or approximately $7,000, making the compensation about the same, they said.

Incumbents Duane Vigue and Guy Bourrie ran uncontested in their respective races for selectman and school board. Each were elected for a three-year term at the polls March 21.

Nominated to the Budget Committee at town meeting were David Martucci, David WIlliams, Kathy Ocean, Jesse Casas, Hank Aho, Wendy Carr, Dorothy Sainio and alternates Mahlon Linscott and Chrissy Ravelli-Studer.

The meeting lasted about an hour and a half.

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

Donald Grinnell of the Board of Selectmen presents the 2014 Spirit of America Unsung Hero Award to Debbie Johnston, president of the Washington Fire Department Auxiliary, at town meeting March 22. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Washington residents exercise their right to vote following lengthy discussion over the Levensaler Cemetery. All articles on the warrant passed at town meeting March 22. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
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