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$8.7M Budget, Repairs Up for Vote in Newport

Newport — Voters will have an opportunity to discuss the warrant for this year’s annual Town Meeting at the deliberative session on Tuesday , beginning at 6 p.m. in the Opera House.

The 12-article warrant for the May 14 Town Meeting includes a proposed town budget of $8.7 million, which is about $90,000 more than this year. Town Manager Paul Brown said an increase in non-tax revenues in the budget has resulted in an estimated tax rate decrease of 28 cents, to $10.98 per $1,000 of assessed valuation.

Though there were some spending reductions, Brown said the town’s contribution to the state retirement system was the biggest piece of the increase over last year’s.

There are three other articles proposed by the Selectboard requiring appropriations, though only two would affect next year’s tax rate. Article 5 is for a new ambulance costing $161,212, of which $56,424 would come from grants and donations, $26,788 from taxes and up to $78,000 from a bond. The article would add 6 cents to the tax rate and requires a 60 percent majority.

Under Article 8, the Selectboard is proposing $250,000 for repairs to about a dozen paved roads. It would add 60 cents to the tax rate.

The $82,000 requested for interior and exterior repairs to town hall (opera house) under Article 9 would come from the town hall improvement fund.

Other articles include a request to rescind the SB2 format for Town Meeting and return to the traditional floor meeting and a $5,000 request, by petition, from the Community Alliance of Human Services.

At the deliberative session, articles seeking appropriations can be amended from the floor.

Filing for town offices opens today and closes at 5 p.m. on April 5. For the Selectboard, the three-year seats held by Jeff Kessler and Gary Nichols will be on the ballot.

Patrick O’Grady can be reached at ogrady54@yahoo.com.