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Salem makes quick work approving budget article

SALEM - Voters quickly moved through financial articles at Saturday's town deliberative session.

A $40,362,397 town budget will appear on the ballot at the March 11 town election.

If the budget is defeated at the ballot, the default budget is set at the same as current town budget, which is $38,587,585.

If the proposed town budget passes, it will result in an increase in the property tax rate of 1.42 percent, or about 8 cents, according to Selectman James Keller.

Budget Committee Chairman Dane Hoover said he felt that town staff and selectmen worked well together to craft a budget that included increased health care and retirement costs.

Voters also approved moving forward appropriations for several road, bridge and water projects.

The proposed $1,418,024 bonding for bridge reconstruction includes the replacement of bridges and one culvert at Shannon Road, Teague Drive over the Spicket River, and at Cove Road Extension over Arlington Pond.

The highlights of 2014's proposed $4,615,000 road program include reconstruction of South Policy Street from Porcupine Brook to Raymond Avenue and Shannon Road from Atkinson Road to Providence Hill Road.

An $825,000 water improvement project to replace a water pipe on North Policy Street would have no effect on the town's water rate, Selectmen Chairman Everett McBride said. The project would be paid for through the town water rate, but because several bonds are coming off the books in the next two years, there would be no increase in the water rate.

Voters also agreed to move forward with the purchase of two vehicles for the fire department, a ladder truck and a heavy rescue truck, using $1.925 million of the town's unassigned fund balance.

- Adam SwiftSunday News correspondent





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