More than 80 voters in attendance at special town meeting at the Miller School in Waldoboro approved the one article rejected at the annual town meeting by referendum in June, but not before reducing the amount.
After a lengthy debate, voters passed a budget of $138,438 by a margin of 57-26.
The vote runs contrary to the recommendations of the board of selectmen and budget committee, which voted 3-2 and 5-3-1, respectively, to raise and appropriate $148,438 for the article, the same amount rejected during the referendum.
In June, the article failed by a vote of 367-335. It was the second year in a row the budget for the office had failed to carry.
This year’s proposal of $148,438 was an increase of $13,371 or 10.19 percent.
The budget approved during the special town meeting on Wednesday, July 6, is an increase of $3,371 or 2.5 percent.
Not all in attendance at the meeting were in favor of reducing the budget.
“We don’t pay our people enough around here,” former Selectman Steve Cartwright said. “We are very low on the scale. I think what we really should do is endorse and vote for the full amount. That is a reasonable amount. We are still paying our people below what other towns of our size pay their employees and I think this budget is well within reason.”
Voting at the special town meeting was by secret ballot after a motion to forgo hand counting was approved at the outset of the open town meeting.
An initial amendment proposed by William Maxwell to reduce the proposed budget of $148,438 to a total of $146,591 failed to pass by a vote of 50-33.
Speaking on behalf of his amendment, Maxwell said the amount in the proposed budget should be lowered since the proposed total failed to carry at the referendum town meeting.
“I feel the selectmen owe the citizens of this town a lower figure. I don’t care what the amount is, but they should come back with a lower amount,” Maxwell said.
The second amendment of the evening, to cut $10,000, which would receive approval both as an amendment and later as the total budget of the article, was made by John Higgins, a member of the town’s budget committee.
Voters overwhelmingly approved the other question on the warrant for the special town meeting – a fix to an error in the warrant article for the Waldoboro Fire Department budget.
By a tally of 76-5, residents voted in concordance with the board of selectmen and budget committee, which voted 5-0 and 6-0-1, respectively, in favor of the fix.
The Lincoln County News will update this post.