NEW VINEYARD – Voters will have a chance Saturday to accept or reject a wind ordinance proposal that will define limits for future developers and landowners.
Last year, voters approved a moratorium on wind power development until the Planning Board met throughout the past year to draft an ordinance and have it approved by the town’s attorney, Frank Underkuffler.
“The moratorium expires on Friday, and we’ll vote on the town of New Vineyard wind energy facility ordinance on Saturday,” Selectman Fay Adams said. “We have had our public hearing and spread the word about it, so we won’t be debating the issue. We’ll just vote it up or down.”
The annual meeting at Smith Memorial Hall will start at 9:30 a.m. and includes 45 articles.
“We’ll have a firemen’s dinner at noon,” she said. “We haven’t done that for awhile, so I hope we have a good crowd.”
Voters will nominate and elect a selectman, road commissioner, three Planning Board members, and two Planning Board alternates. Adams will serve if nominated for another three-year term, she said.
If approved by voters, $20,000 from the surplus account will go to a reserve fund for future reconstruction on the Barker Road. Road maintenance and repair is an endless drain on the town’s budget, Adams said. Town road expenditures last year cost $32,743. Snowplowing and sanding went $1,398 over the appropriated $136,000.
“Our budget for the coming year is $390,000 for everything,” Adams said. “We’ll take $50,000 from surplus to reduce taxes, and we’ll need $68,000 for town charges and $1,000 for legal expenses.”
Last year’s budget appropriation was $333,713. The town also averages $450,000 in a surplus account, but that should not be considered “spendable money,” Adams said. Towns must keep reserves for emergency funding of services, unexpected loss of revenues, or other financial shortfalls.
“A healthy town’s financial reserves should allow them to operate for six months,” she said.
Although specific budget categories might not increase a lot from year to year, selectmen plan for the unexpected, she said. Unpaid 2010 real estate taxes totaled $100,664 at the end of the fiscal year. That amount changes every year.
Adams and other municipal officials spent extra hours finalizing figures for the meeting. The town recently bought TRIO software for real estate tax record keeping and handed some additional tasks to their bookkeeper, she said, so there have been some recalculations that she will explain to the voters at the start of the meeting.
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