Voters reelected Joel Lind for a third consecutive term and elected newcomers Karen Leavitt Paz and David Levesque to the Newcastle Board of Selectmen during the annual town meeting by referendum on Tuesday, June 8.
Four candidates ran for two three-year terms on the board: Lind, Leavitt Paz, Christopher Doherty, and Merle Parise. Out of 336 total votes cast, Leavitt Paz received 194, Lind received 184, Parise garnered 116, and Doherty received 103.
Levesque received 178 votes to Jacob Abbott’s 140 to serve a one-year term on the board. Brian Foote, then chair of the board of selectmen, resigned earlier this year in the second year of a three-year term.
Voters also reelected Allan Ray to the Great Salt Bay Sanitary District Board of Trustees with 281 votes and elected Dennis Anderson to the Newcastle and Great Salt Bay school committees with 268 votes. Both ran unopposed.
Voters also approved the town’s secondary education and municipal budgets.
The fiscal year 2021-2022 municipal budget totals $2,629,042.13, an increase of $382,565.13 or 17.03% and was passed by a vote of 245-76.
In a budget explanation on the town warrant, the estimated mil rate for the upcoming year is listed at $15.70 per $1,000 of valuation, down from the current rate of $17.90. For example, at a mil rate of $15.70, a resident whose property is assessed at $200,000 would owe $3,140.
The bulk of the budget increase is for an uptick in debt service for the $2 million bond authorized at the 2019 annual town meeting for the reconstruction of Academy Hill Road and increases in the roads capital projects reserve account.
The first full year’s payment on the bond is $243,422.57, $204,168.57 above the amount budgeted for the Academy Hill Road loan payment in the last fiscal year.
The town’s secondary education budget totals $1,644,453.10, an increase of $166,714.60 or 11.28%. The budget was passed by a vote of 256-72. The budget consists of the town’s expenses for students in grades nine through 12, most of whom attend Lincoln Academy in Newcastle.
During the April 12 selectmen’s meeting, Newcastle School Committee member Stephanie Nelson said the budget is largely determined by how many students the town must serve.
“Because we have school choice, the school committee has very little input into the secondary budget. It’s really just numbers,” she said.
The town is projected to have 15 additional secondary students for the next fiscal year.