Operating budget: $1,336,470, which is up $39,868, or about 3.1 percent, over the $1,296,602 budget voters approved last year. (The town actually spent $1,206,403, some $90,000 less than budgeted.)
Operating budget comparisons do not represent the change in the amount that would need to be raised by taxes, which is also affected by spending requests in separate warrant articles and year-to-year changes in revenueHot topics: The largest appropriation on this year’s warrant by far relates to the proposed broadband-improvement project. Town-meeting voters will be asked to authorize an $896,375 bond for the project, and to authorize that $700,000 be accepted from a broadband provider. Consolidated Communications told residents at a Feb. 20 hearing that if the town approves the funds, the company will begin to order the necessary equipment immediately and aim for buildout in early summer. Customers won’t necessarily have to wait until the entire network is completed before being connected, the company said. This article requires a two-thirds ballot vote to pass.
Also on the warrant: A request for $313,747 to buy a highway grader and $249,000 to rebuild completely Willard Hill Road and portions of Mason and Brown roads. Voters will also be asked to earmark $100,000 to purchase a gravel pit on Jaquith Road for the purpose of getting road material for highway improvements.
Contested races: Residents will see only one race on this year’s ballot — between Richard Jackson and incumbent Jay Jacobs for a three-year term on the selectboard.
Elections: Tuesday, March 10, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Wells Memorial School, 235 Chesham Road
Meeting: March 10, at 7 p.m., Wells Memorial School