The Jefferson Board of Selectmen met at Jefferson Village School for a public hearing to review the warrant for the annual town meeting before residents vote by referendum Tuesday, March 28.
Don Means, as moderator, read through the warrant, pausing at various points to give residents a chance to ask questions and selectmen an opportunity to respond to their inquiries.
The hearing began with an overview of the municipal budget.
The administration budget totals $294,390, an increase of $16,144 or 5.8 percent from 2016.
According to the selectmen, the increase will cover stipends and wages for selectmen and town employees, including a new half-time position at the town office.
The protection and health portion of the budget, which includes the transfer station, fire department, and animal control, saw a decrease due to a reduction in the Nobleboro-Jefferson Transfer Station budget.
The fire department’s budget saw an increase of $1,000 from last year’s budget.
Jefferson Fire Chief Walter Morris said the department has kept costs down thanks to federal grant programs going toward the acquisition of a tanker, turnout gear, and other apparatus.
Selectman Gregory Johnston praised the department for its cost-saving efforts.
“If it weren’t for the grants, we wouldn’t have the equipment we have and there would be a greater burden on the taxpayer,” Johnston said.
The proposed protection and health budget totals $161,222, a decrease of $3,785 or 2.29 percent from 2016.
The roads and highways budget, at $362,180, saw an increase of $2,920 or 0.83 percent. The selectmen attributed the increase to an uptick in the town’s plowing contracts with Gordon Libby Forest Products Inc., of Waldoboro.
The town will pay $245,380 for plowing, whereas the 2016 contract was $242,360.
Two articles in the town warrant cover the reconstruction of Somerville Road. The roadwork articles pertain to a state block grant for $45,228 to go toward Somerville Road and call for the town to raise and appropriate another $9,500 for work on the road.
Johnston said the board has been working to tackle town roads in need of repair in each budget cycle.
Article 12 in the town warrant covers the proposed adoption of an ordinance entitled “town of Jefferson ordinance governing the issuance, suspension, and revocation of special amusement permits, to control the issuance of special permits for music, dancing, or entertainment in facilities licensed by the state to sell liquor.”
Johnston said the ordinance covers a state requirement regarding the issuance of liquor licenses for functions at establishments in Jefferson, such as Damariscotta Lake Farm.
“We are going to put this in place so when people want to have a function, they can,” Town Clerk Lynne Barnikow said.