Offsets Benefit Dorchester

Dorchester Town Meeting voters will elect town officials by paper ballot from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 11 at Town Hall. Voting on the remaining warrant articles will be conducted from the floor on Saturday, March 15 at 10 a.m. at the Town Hall.

Dorchester — Voters in Dorchester will consider more than $65,000 in additional spending from last year, although homeowners are unlikely to feel the effect on their taxes if everything is approved.

The $437,602 proposed budget represents a 1.6 percent increase from last year, and other warrant articles would add $82,255 on top of that.

If all spending articles are approved, it would add up to a 14.4 percent increase over last year.

But just about all of the additional spending will be offset by other revenue sources and a $72,000 surplus, said Selectboard Chairman Sherman Hallock.

“We’re way over in our fund balance and we have a lot of extra money we want to put to good use,” he said.

The town has been able to collect federal grant money and motor vehicle tax revenue that has buffered the town from taking hits to its tax rate. The estimated amount to be raised by taxes will increase only about $1,300, or less than one-half of 1 percent.

The additional spending will go toward repairs to Town Hall, the townwide property revaluation and contracting with a company to update the tax maps, among other things.

Article six proposes spending $15,000 for a new roof for Town Hall and article seven includes $4,000 for new storm windows.

Hallock said the time has come to make the upgrades.

“It’s just old,” Hallock said of the roof. “It’s pretty frayed.”

Article eight calls for Dorchester to enter into a three-year contract with CAI Technologies to produce digital parcel maps for the town, and spend $7,455 for the first year of the contract.

The town’s maps haven’t been updated in several years, Hallock said.

Petitioned articles include one that would deposit 5 percent of land use change tax revenues into a conservation fund that would be used to develop a natural resources inventory for Dorchester. Another would make the office of road agent an elected position with a term of three-years. It is currently an appointed position.

There are no contested races on the ballot.

Chris Fleisher can be reached at 603-727-3229.