2016 Lincoln Town Meeting Preview

LINCOLN — Most of the 31 articles before Lincoln residents at this year’s town meeting will be voted from the floor on Monday, Feb. 29, at Burnham Hall, starting at 6 p.m.

Overall, the total proposed for both general fund and highway department spending remains almost identical to fiscal year 2016. The selectboard is asking voters to approve a highway budget of $978,445, down $15,985 from last year. The $341,269 proposed general fund budget is up by $15,720, due in part to the hiring of an administrative assistant for the selectboard in January. Overall, the $1,319,715 in total proposed municipal spending for fiscal 2017 is $264 less than the $1,319,979 approved for the current year.

Officials budgeted $775,352 to be raised by taxes for the highway fund and $256,665 for the general fund.

Most appropriations proposed for various Lincoln organizations remain identical to last year’s town meeting:

• $5,000 for Lincoln Cooperative Preschool.

• $44,000 for the Lincoln Library.

• $2,000 for Lincoln Sports.

• $55,896 for the Lincoln Volunteer Fire Department.

The exception is the $5,000 proposed for the Lincoln Cemetery Association. Last year the association did not request town funds and so was not on the agenda. The association has been budgeted between $2,500 and $5,000 in recent years.

Appropriations proposed for agencies outside of Lincoln remain identical to those proposed at last year’s town meeting, with the exception of the amount proposed for the Retired Senior Volunteer Program, which is asking for $490, compared with $375 last year. The total appropriations sought from outside agencies is $17,760 — which is $115 more than last year.

Lincoln voters will be asked to approve a Lincoln Community School budget of $2,198,722. That works out to spending $15,217 per equalized pupil, a 2.09 percent increase from the $14,902 budgeted for the current year. The budgeted increase in per pupil spending is less than both the original Act 46 threshold for Lincoln Community School of 2.10 and the recently amended threshold of 3.0 percent, meaning that the budget as proposed avoids the Act 46 tax penalty for spending over the cap.

At press time, homestead tax rates were still up in the air statewide, as the Agency of Education continues to await clarification from legislators on how Act 46 affects the “property dollar equivalent yield” used to calculate the homestead rate.

Voting by Australian ballot to elect all town and school officers will take place Tuesday, March 1, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., also at Burnham Hall.

In the only contested race on the Town Meeting Day ballot in Lincoln, Matthew Collins is challenging incumbent Mark Truax for second constable.

Three Lincoln selectboard members are running unopposed: Will Sipsey for a three-year seat, James Needham for two years, and Oakley Smith for one year.

Lincoln Community School board Chair Rebecca Otey is running again for a three-year seat. Vice Chair Mary Beth Stilwell is running again for a two-year seat.

Sally Ober, Lincoln’s town clerk since 2006, is running unopposed for a one-year return to that office. Lisa Truchon, first elected treasurer in 2012, is running unopposed for a one-year return.

Lincoln residents will also vote by Australian ballot to accept or reject the proposed $13,389,914 spending plan for Mount Abraham Union Middle/High School and to accept or reject the $3,521,263 proposed for the Patricia A. Hannaford Career Center.

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