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Bridgewater Budget OK’d; Constable Steps Down  

Bridgewater — By the time noon rolled around, voters had approved all the town and school spending and ushered in a slate of officers in a fairly routine meeting.

The only oddity came about when Ed Earle, town constable for the last decade, was nominated again and declined. That led to a ballot vote in which Mike Sawyer handily defeated Andrew John “AJ” Stevens.

The only other change was on the Bridgewater Village School Board, where Owen Astbury stepped down after a decade of service, and Seth Shaw was elected without opposition, Town Clerk Nancy Robinson said in a phone interview yesterday afternoon.

Incumbent Mary Oldenburg was unopposed for a three-year term on the Selectboard, and John Timken, who was appointed to the board after longtime Chairman Nelson Lee Jr. died last year, was unopposed for the remaining year in Lee’s term. Gwen Groff was re-elected to the Woodstock Union High School Board, also unopposed.

The town budget of a little under $709,000 is only about 1 percent higher than last year’s. Even with the purchase of a new truck for the Highway Department, for which the town will borrow up to $150,000, the town tax rate is expected to increase by two cents, to 38 cents per $100 of assessed value. The property taxes on a $250,000 property would rise by $50.

The elementary school budget of $995,000 was approved by paper ballot, by a count of 35-27. The budget carries a 9 percent increase, and the residential tax rate is slated to rise from $1.51 per $100 to $1.66 per $100. That would yield an increase of $375 on a home assessed at $250,000.

Bridgewater voters leaned against the proposed Woodstock Union High School budget, with 42 opposed and 35 in favor.

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